Change Of Heart: Veach Family Thankful For Opportunity

Scott and Shannon Veach gain strength from both their faith, as well as the struggles and successes of their son, Shae.

The youngest of five boys, the 14-year-old has been fighting since the day he was born. He has overcome more in his short time on earth than many have in their entire life, starting back before his birth.

During a routine ultrasound in 2004, the Veach’s were told Shae had a severe heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome where the left ventricle is so underdeveloped, it’s essentially useless. Five days after his birth in November of 2004, Shae had the first of a number of surgeries.

Fast forward to August 10th when Shae was admitted to the ICU at Phoenix Children’s Hospital after experiencing heart failure. Following his release four days later, he was readmitted on August 17th when it was determined his heart was failing and he would need a transplant.

About three weeks later Cade Veach, a senior tight end at Perry High School, was preparing for his game against Red Mountain when his dad got a late Friday afternoon phone call which would change the entire families’ lives moving forward.

“We were anticipating Shae coming home the following week,” Scott Veach said to “[I] got a phone call at about 5:30 from the heart company. They said they had a heart for us. They were about 99 percent sure it was a match and so, at that point, I really wasn’t sure what to do. My concern initially was, ‘I need to go to the game because if Cade looks around and doesn’t see any family members he’s going to be wondering if something happened because his brother is in the hospital.”

That Friday night in Mesa would be magical, almost fit for a Hollywood script.

Cade would catch a key touchdown (the first of his varsity career) and the Pumas would hold off host Red Mountain in four overtimes just moments before Scott would share the news with one of Shae’s older brothers, Cade.   

“Everybody was celebrating and we were going crazy and I looked and saw my dad,” Cade explained to “He looked a little shaky. A little more shaky than normal. I had never seen him like that and then he told me that my little brother got a heart. I just broke down. I couldn’t help it.”

Shae had successful surgery and was released from the hospital on September 18th. When he got home, he was greeted by a new family member in the form of Oliver, the Veach’s 11-week old Goldendoodle. Shae told his parents numerous times he’d like a puppy once he was released from PCH. 

Ask and you shall receive.

Shae’s new heart was a blessing from God, although as Scott admitted, it came at the expense of another family losing a loved one.

That warm Friday night in the southeast Valley was also a special one for Perry head coach Preston Jones, who shared the news with the team about Shae’s new heart shortly after the Pumas’ dramatic victory.

“I don’t think a lot of people outside of our football team there knew what we were so elated about.”

It was a win much bigger than what happened on the same field.