0612-LIW-Ryder Roark_Blog

Five-year-old Ryder Roark is an outspoken and energetic boy.  His twin brother, Rowe, is the exact opposite. The two are inseparable.

However, a doctor’s appointment for Ryder could have broken the two apart.

Ryder went to see his doctor after getting over the flu.  Although it was a “sick” visit, the doctor was checking blood pressures for young children and found that his blood pressure was very high.

A follow-up appointment showed that it was still elevated, so he had an echocardiogram.  Results from the test found that Ryder had severe coarctation of the aorta, which can be fatal if not treated.

Ryder had emergency surgery to open up the narrowed aorta.


“The American Heart Association has a very passionate goal to help reduce the number of patients who suffer from congenital heart disease and to also make an effort to diagnose congenital heart disease at an earlier time,” said Susan Averitt, M.D. of Best Start Pediatric Clinic in Springdale, Arkansas.

Ryder continues to do well.  He has monthly check-ups and lives a normal five-year-old life.

“He will have congenital heart disease forever,” said his mother, Casey Roark. “So we consider ourselves so blessed and lucky that he was taken care of and he can lead a normal, healthy life, but now I think it’s our time to get the prevention and awareness out there and that’s what we want to do with it and I think Ryder will do something huge with it, too.”

The American Heart Association is Why.