COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Landon Schultheis, 14, has wanted to be a weatherman since he was in the second grade.
He is home this weekend, keeping an eye on the Little Kanawha River, in Davisville, West Virginia, not far from Parkersburg.
When Landon began to feel ill in December, his family could not have anticipated the diagnosis he would receive several weeks later at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. After multiple rounds of tests, the they learned his weakening condition was due to left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy (LVNC), which meant his left ventricle was not pumping properly.
His heart function had decreased to 15 percent, and he underwent several surgeries to implant a temporary and then a permanent left ventricular-assisted device in early January. Finally, on Jan. 21, Landon ultimately required a lafe-saving heart transplant, which was successful.
His mother, Lindsay, said the turn of events “was very shocking,” especially since Landon had been a very healthy youngster, and there was no indication of this rare genetic heart mutation in the family.
Landon was recently visited by Coach Urban Meyer and several current and former Ohio State Buckeyes along the road to recovery, and they signed a football to give to Landon, a huge Buckeyes football fan. Since the diagnosis, Landon’s family has received thousands of cards.
“The community support has been unbelievable,” said Lindsay Schultheis.
I met Landon and his family at he Ronald McDonald House campus at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. We talked about his most memorable weather events, living near the Ohio River in West Virginia, including recent snowstorms, hailstorms, and flooding that he witnessed traveling along Route 33 along the Hocking River to and from Columbus for treatment the past few weeks.
Landon thanked the nurses and doctors for providing excellent care, writing in an email: “They saved my life and I am forever grateful. I am also very thankful to the donor for this unselfish gift of life.”
Landon and his mother composed a heartwarming message: “Life can be unpredictable just like the weather. The month of January was a roller coaster of emotions for me and my family. I am looking forward to the beautiful rainbow following this terrifying storm.”
Landon hopes to someday work for the National Weather Service, and perhaps become a stormchaser. He was on a trip out West with his grandmother in July 2018, when they passed through Iowa the day after large tornadoes struck Pella and Marshalltown, Iowa, on July 21. They diverted their vacation to document the storm damage and write a report on the event.
Landon’s family created a Facebook page (Team Landon – Buckeye Strong) to highlight his recovery, after a 29-day stay at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He was able to go home several weeks after the heart transplant surgery, but returns to the hospital for weekly two-day rehabilitation visits.
He may return to school later in the spring, but more likely not until fall, after his immune system recovers. He will likely be taking immunosuppressant medication for the rest of his life, but is thrilled to be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a meteorologist,