Jarren Jasper, center, has been on the heart transplant list for months. (Courtesy of Navy Athletics)

Jarren Jasper is recovering well after receiving a heart transplant early Tuesday morning at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

Jasper’s father, Ivin, the longtime offensive coordinator for the Navy football team, said in a text message Tuesday that the hours-long surgery went smoothly and that the first 24 hours after the transplant are crucial.

“I’m overwhelmed with joy. This has been a difficult time for me and my family, but the Lord has delivered the miracle we’ve been waiting for and it’s a true blessing,” Ivin Jasper said.

Tuesday’s surgery moved the Jasper family closer to the end of an ordeal that began when complications arose during an August surgery at the prominent children’s hospital that was meant to correct Jarren Jasper’s abnormally fast heart rate. Jarren, 14, spent the first two months of what would have been his freshman year of high school in the hospital and the next four months with a mechanical pump called a left ventricular assist device helping his heart deliver blood throughout his body.

The wait on the transplant list brought months of agonizing uncertainty. Jarren, who lost 25 pounds in the hospital, spent that time working up the strength to be able to withstand a transplant so he could be ready when a heart became available, while Ivin and his wife, Donna, worked to stay mentally and emotionally strong. The Jasper family could never be too far from their home in Annapolis in case donors called with a viable organ, and every abnormal test during checkups brought fresh fear.

During the wait, Ivin and Donna preferred to say they were hoping for a miracle, as wishing for a donor heart felt selfish. The couple had their donor family in mind Tuesday as they watched their son recover.

“My heart goes out to the donor family,” Ivin Jasper said. “Their loss made this joyous day possible. Words can’t begin to express how thankful the Jasper family is that they made the choice to give life.”

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