COTA for Lucas Thomas Santos

2014 Run Your Heart Out for COTA 5K

The 2014 Run Your Heart Out for COTA 5K will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, September 13, 2014.  The start time will be 8am.  Please see the brochure link below.  You can register using the form in the brochure or online at

Brochure: Click Here


 Meet Lucas

Born on Sept. 11, 1995, Lucas Santos was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. After fifteen days in the hospital, doctors were able to release Lucas and manage his condition with medication until he was about 13. That’s when Lucas had his first open heart surgery, and a pacemaker was implanted to help with his condition. At that time the doctors told Lucas’ parents, Larry and Simone Santos, that it was very likely a heart transplant was in his future.

Life went on as normal for a few more years. Lucas, who loves music, was able to march in the Cary High School band his freshman year. By his sophomore year his health condition had deteriorated, and he was only able to play in the pit. Then this past August, his junior year, he wasn’t able to march at all. In September he was admitted to Duke Children’s Hospital and told he would be there until a new heart was found.

At about 8:55 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, a heart was found and the transplant took place. Almost three months to the day later on Feb. 3, Lucas, full of energy that he hadn’t had in months, stood before the members at First Baptist Church in Cary (where he and his family are active members) and played the trombone that he hadn’t been able to play for so long. The very next day he walked through the doors of Cary High ready to return to life as normal – well as normal as can be for a teenager.

This Fall, Lucas will be a freshman at Virginia Tech.

Lucas is very quick to give God all the glory for bringing him through this journey, and despite being very shy and reserved he is ready and willing to share his testimony with others. In just a few weeks he will begin visiting driver’s education classes around Wake County to be a real-life example of the importance of organ donation. He is living proof that organ donation saves lives.

About COTA for Lucas Thomas Santos

With the cost of a transplant often exceeding $500,000, many transplant families are unable to shoulder the financial burden of such a procedure.  The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is a national charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses.  In Cary, volunteers are raising funds for COTA in honor of transplant patients like local teen, Lucas Santos.  

Lucas is the son of Larry and Simone Santos.  Born on September 11, 1995, Lucas was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease.  The doctors at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, performed a life-saving heart transplant November 5, 2012.  An estimated $60,000 is being raised by Cary volunteers.