It was a special morning at Lynbrook High School as junior Aidan Slattery returned to school on Oct. 15 after undergoing heart transplant surgery three months ago. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak, Principal Joseph Rainis, Assistant Principals Salvatore Brescia and Matthew Sarosy, along with excited students, staff and members of the Slattery family, waited for his arrival outside the high school.
Looking to give Aidan a memorable surprise homecoming, students proudly held balloons and posters to welcome him back. Members of the marching band performed and the cheer and kickline teams lined the sidewalk as Aidan was dropped off at the front of the building. Everyone cheered as they paved a path for him from the entrance of the school through the lobby, cafeteria and hallway.
Aidan, who has had a heart condition his entire life, fell ill in early May during his sophomore year and was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. There, he learned his heart was failing and was placed on the nationwide emergency heart transplant list. Aidan underwent a massive surgery to receive a heart pump called a ventricular assist device and began to grow stronger. Within five weeks, a near perfect match was discovered for a donor heart and Aidan underwent heart transplant surgery.
“When we learned that Aidan was coming back to school, knowing what he and his entire family had gone through, it was inspiring,” said Principal Rainis. “And so I said to myself, wouldn’t it be great if we had the whole building outside to welcome him back? It’s just a nice way to welcome a wonderful young man back into the family.”
As Aidan was celebrated by his peers, Dr. Burak expressed how happy she was to see him return to school. Todd Slattery, Aidan’s father, was among the crowd and was thankful for the support of the school community.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “Aidan definitely brings out the best in them. He’s got a great personality and he’s pretty soft spoken, so this is probably a shock for him, but he knows that this whole thing came with a responsibility so he’s welcoming of the attention. Aidan wants to tell his story so that others can benefit from increased awareness for organ donors and the wonderful work that’s happening at children’s hospitals around the country.”
Welcome back, Aidan!