n 2012, when Camden resident Amari Williams was nine-years-old, his concerned mother, Camisha Williams, took him to the doctor because he had swollen feet. Amari and his mother were immediately sent to Palmetto Children’s Hospital and from there to the Medical University of South Carolina’s Children’s Hospital that same day.
Upon arrival at MUSC, the doctors diagnosed him with dilated cardiomyopathy which is a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot pump blood efficiently. The condition can be caused by a viral infection and lead to heart failure.
From June 2012-November 2012, Amari was at MUSC’s Children’s Hospital. He spent his tenth birthday, October 13, 2012 there as well. He celebrated his birthday attached to an artificial heart that functioned as his heart, but was on the outside of his body, and would need it until a new heart became available. November 5, 2012, Amari received his new heart and he arrived back home about six weeks later.
During his hospital stay in 2012, Kershaw County Council proclaimed October 13 Amari Williams’ Got Heart Day.
Now fourteen, Amari has a new heart that is healthy and allows him to participate in most sports activities and any recreational activities of his choice. Amari is now playing golf and is also the manager of Camden Middle School’s football and basketball programs. His mother says they have regular checkups for his heart and they have been successful since he received his new heart.
“We go out into the community and raise awareness of heart disease in children in an effort to encourage them to live a heart healthy life,” Camisha Williams said.
Recently, on his birthday, Amari’s school, Camden Middle School, surprised him. There was a pep rally at his school for the American Heart Association. Students raised money that will go fund research for the American Heart Association.
“We want people to know the importance of heart and cardiovascular screening,” Camisha said. “If you notice changes about you that don’t seem normal: get checked out,” Camisha said.
Amari Williams and Jordan Brown were the top fundraisers for the event.