Jared Bucey, 15, with his stepfather Steve Diacik and mother Lisa Diacik.
Jared Bucey of Camp Verde shows the scar that remains from his heart-transplant surgery at 4 months of age. Now 15, Bucey says he would like to help Brad Figy of Cottonwood raise money for the heart transplant surgery that he needs. VVN/Bill Helm
CAMP VERDE - Jared Bucey of Camp Verde is like most kids his age. He likes to play video games. He likes to listen to music. He likes to watch movies. He likes to cook ... and eat.
Unlike most kids, the 15-year-old Bucey celebrates two birthdays: the day he was born, and the day he received his heart transplant.
Bucey was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. When he was 4 months old, Bucey had the life-changing surgery. Though he takes eight meds each day and sees his doctor four times a year for blood tests, Bucey mostly leads a normal life. The only thing Bucey cannot do, he says, is play sports. This, Bucey says, is no big deal.
"I really don't like sports," he says.
When Bucey saw the Bugle newspaper on April 21, his heart was moved by what he read. Bucey, and his parents Steve and Lisa Diacik, read a story about a Cottonwood man named Brad Figy and his inability to afford a much-needed heart transplant. Without a new heart, doctors have said Figy will be lucky to live two more years.
"Doesn't everybody have health insurance?" Bucey asked his parents after reading the article.
Upon hearing the answer to that question, Bucey response was sincere.
"We should try to help them."
The more Bucey thought about it, the more he wanted to help Figy.
"I hope to raise enough money to help him get a heart transplant."
Bucey is not certain how he will raise money. He only knows that he wants to help Figy. Bucey says he has also spoken with one of his teachers about doing a fund-raiser.
"It's unbelievable," says Figy about Bucey. "I feel blessed, thankful and humbled. It's amazing how people are rallying around. I feel a lot of love from people."
"Jared is so secure of himself," Lisa says. "It surprises me because people told me he would be more introverted because he was home-schooled.
"He really treasures life," Lisa says.
Bucey says he hopes to meet Figy, not only to tell him he wants to help raise money, but also to offer words of encouragement. Bucey would like to tell Figy, "I've been through the same thing."
Angela Figy, Brad's wife, says it is "wonderful" that Bucey wants to help the Figy family raise money for the surgery Brad needs. Angela says she hopes that her family can one day meet Bucey to thank him for what he wants to do for them.
Bucey says he does not think of himself as someone who has been sick, or someone with limitations.
"Anything is possible," he says. Bucey is already making plans for his future. He says he wants to design video games for a living.
"And I want to go to Japan," Bucey says. "The Nintendo world headquarters is there. Japan would be a real experience."
"And I want to get two cats when I get my own place," he adds.
Bucey may not label it as such, but he has a motto.
"Enjoy your life."
Donations to Brad Figy can be made through http://www.giveforward.com/heart4brad. Donations can also be made by mailing a check to:
C/O Hope Smith,
Chase Bank, Cottonwood, Ariz. Branch,
1540 E State Route 89A, Cottonwood, AZ 86322,
Checks payable to: Bradley S. Figy account