Young Jackson golfer wins tournaments after undergoing heart transplant

Updated: Jun. 30, 2020 at 9:45 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Mo. (KFVS) - An 11-year old golfer, Jimmy Williams, continues to beat the odds and win championships after undergoing a heart transplant in December.

For Jackson’s Jimmy Williams, his love for the game of golf started at the tender age of two. As he grew older, so did his passion for the sport, with his dad Jim right at his side.

“It was something me and him could really work at. And we did, he loved working at it,” Jim Williams said. “We spent hours chipping, working on your drive, you sign up for a tournament and maybe you can win.”

And Jimmy did win, a lot. But everything changed at the age of 10, while playing at the World Championships in Orlando. Jimmy experienced stomach issues and his parents took him to the hospital to get checked out.

“They called me and my wife into a room and said this is no stomach issue, he’s got a serious heart condition,” Jim said. “We headed to the ICU and it all started.”

Jimmy only had 17 percent of his heart functioning. The only option was heart transplant.

“When we got the diagnosis, it slapped me in the face, took the wind right out of me,” said Shana Williams, Jimmy’s mom.

First Jimmy underwent open heart surgery at Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis. They put in an L-Vad to help his heart pump and he would wear a battery pack while waiting for his heart transplant.

On December 12, the call came.

“On the 13th, he went in and got his transplant,” Jim said. “I think it was a 12 or 13-hour surgery. It was a long night, but he did great, everything went perfect.”

“He never complained, not once the whole time,” Shana said.

“I just knew, the more I let them do, the better I would be coming out of it,” Jimmy said. “I wasn’t gonna fight over the needle, because it was going to hurt.”

Thirty days after being visited by some of the biggest sports heroes in St. Louis, Jimmy Williams would leave the hospital healthy and with a winning attitude that made him the biggest hero of all.

“That was something everybody on the floor drew off of, he was an important part of their lives and still is today,” Jim said.

Jimmy’s powerful swing and winning game is back. And he continues to take pride in inspiring others.

“That’s awesome that so many people supported me and all that, and I’ve inspired some kids to come out and play golf. It’s a great game,” Jimmy said.

He said the tough times have made him a better golfer.

“Yeah, it makes me feel more confident,” Jimmy said. “If I can go through a heart transplant, I can win a golf tournament.”

Jimmy did win the golf tournament, and he has no plans of slowing down now.

He knows how far he wants to go.

“To the top, top five, I want to be number one in the world,” he said. “I’m gonna work for it.”

His mom, Shana, knows he can do it.

“And he will be,” she said. “He will be. he’s number one in my heart. Having a child like Jimmy is a dream come true. He’s a fighter, he’s a warrior and he’s my hero.”

Jimmy Williams has his next biopsy scheduled for Monday, July 6.

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