Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing

Hunter's Fight

Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing
Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing

"The doctors did not think that Hunter was going to make it but, at 4 months old, he fought back."

Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing

            Hunter Dyer was born with a heart defect called Double Inlet Left Ventricle and transposition of the great veins. He has had 3 open-heart surgeries and 4 heart caths. During his last open heart at 4 months old Hunter suffered a heart attack leaving the left ventricle (and only ventricle) of his heart weak and barely functioning. The doctors said he would not make it with the heart he had and he was placed at the top of the transplant list on April 24, 2009. Because of blood infections and other complications Hunter had to be wait-listed and the doctors at this point did not know if he was going to make it. But Hunter, at 4 months old, was not willing to accept this fact and he defied the odds the doctors had placed against him. He is a miracle and most doctors have no explanation for his recovery. Hunter will still need a heart transplant in the future, but April 24 2009 was not that day!

             Today, at nearly 6 years old, Hunter is doing well with his own heart. He loves taking care of and playing with his two younger brothers. Hunter also recently got his Make-A-Wish dream granted when he went to Disneyland with his family, smiling from ear to ear the entire day. He started pre-school this past year and loves swimming in the pool and playing with his HotWheels.  He is as happy and as healthy as he can be with only a 70% function of his heart. All his doctors are baffled at how well he is doing and we can only contribute this to the miracle that he is. One day he will out grow his little heart and he will be placed on a list. It may be when he is 8, it may be when he is 13! Only Hunter will be able to tell us when this time will come. As for now he continues to defy the odds and inspire others to do the same. Keep on fighting little guy!


Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing

“I woke up on the ground about 30 feet from the bike,” said Fairbairn. “I woke up, saw a lot of blood on the ground, realized the blood was coming from me, saw a car pretty messed up in the crosswalk, and saw an EMT running at me.”

Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing

“I got hit by a car, I was beat up for a while, and I kind of had this ‘woe is me’ mentality for a tiny bit, but I’m upright — I’m breathing,” said Fairbairn. “I’ve got a good job, good life and a good girlfriend. My life is happy.”

 An irregular life

When you’re walking down J Street in downtown Sacramento, don’t be surprised when a whiff of fresh barbeque flows through your nose. The smell from Tank House is so inviting that some have considered it to be the best barbeque in the city.

For the man in charge of cooking the food, head chef Beau Fairbairn, it’s more than just a job; it’s a career and a life that almost didn’t happen.

“I had an irregular heart beat growing up, and I had surgery when I was 15 to correct it,” said Fairbairn. “Later on, I developed another heart issue to where they basically have to stop and restart my heart to put it back to a normal rhythm — or normal sinus. And that has happened about 25 times now.”

Seven years later, Fairbairn, a Sacramento native, experienced his first of many encounters with atrial fibrillation (A-Fib). According to the National Heart, lung, and Blood Institute, A-Fib occurs “if rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the heart's two upper chambers — called the atria to fibrillate. The term "fibrillate" means to contract very fast and irregularly.”

When his heart goes into A-Fib, Fairbairn goes to the hospital, gets put to sleep, and then gets shocked with defibrillator pads to restore his heart back to a normal beating rate — a procedure known as cardioversion.

According to Fairbairn, the procedure causes him to be fatigued and puts him out of any activities for a couple of days. When he began having them, the questions like “How much is that shortening my life span?” began to come up, so he decided to make some changes.

“I kind of just curved my lifestyle a bit and stopped a lot of old bad habits and replaced them with better ones and started taking better care of myself,” said Fairbairn. “Low and behold, I haven’t been cardioverted in about three years now.”

His heart issues weren’t the only run-ins with death that Fairbairn has encountered on the road to where he is now. In May 2013, a car drove through a red light and struck Fairbairn while he was riding his bike.

According to Fairbairn, after the walking signal turned on at the cross walk, he proceeded to ride his bike to get to the other side of the street. After getting halfway through the crosswalk, the car hit him.

“I woke up on the ground about 30 feet from the bike,” said Fairbairn. “I woke up, saw a lot of blood on the ground, realized the blood was coming from me, saw a car pretty messed up in the crosswalk, and saw an EMT running at me.”

Fairbairn was transported to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a severe concussion and some minor body injuries, but luckily no bones were broken. According to Fairbairn, he had road rash down to his knees, had his ear sewn back together, and had several stitches in his head, shoulders and knees.

Because of the size of the car and the fact that it was low to the ground, his injuries were much less severe than what they could have been.

“It saved my ass, because it was lower to the ground vehicle and kind of had an angle to it,” said Fairbairn. “If it was anything else, like a truck or SUV, it would’ve been game over for me.”

Shortly after the accident, Fairbairn began working at Tank House. It was a struggle at first because of the injuries to his legs, reoccurring pain in his back and shoulders, but he fought through it and became head chef within months.

One day, Fairbairn plans on opening his own restaurant, but for now, Fairbairn is taking everything one day at a time and enjoying the good life that he has.

“I got hit by a car, I was beat up for a while, and I kind of had this ‘woe is me’ mentality for a tiny bit, but I’m upright — I’m breathing,” said Fairbairn. “I’ve got a good job, good life and a good girlfriend. My life is happy.”

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Photography done by Evan E. Duran  Story Written by Kris Hooks


Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing

“I like to think that I was blessed in the fact that I do kind of live like I’m dying, for lack of a better term, and it’s causing me to live in the moment,” said Jones. “And that’s a good thing because I appreciate so much and every little thing matters to me.”

Defy the Odds Lifestyle brand / Fly Elephant Clothing

“I can’t really say where it’s going to go or where it wants to go or where it should go,” said Jones. “For right now, I just want to make the most of the opportunities that are out there because obviously the larger I can grow my business, the more I can give back, and that’s what’s important to me.”

Stop waiting for...

Imagine waking up at 2 o’clock in the morning to the feeling of shards of glass stabbing you all over your body. The pain is unbearable, yet your body is too stiff to move. That’s something that over one million people across America are all too familiar with, and the cause of this is Rheumatoid Arthritis.

At 14 years old, Morgan Jones, owner of Stop Waiting For Friday clothing company, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis — a disease more commonly associated with the elderly. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that primarily attacks a person’s joints but can also spread to the organs.

After seven years of having rheumatoid arthritis, the disease spread to her organs, and she contracted liver disease. Although both are relatively under control with the help of medicine, self-injections and doctor visits, Jones still deals with both in her everyday life.

“I like to think that I was blessed in the fact that I do kind of live like I’m dying, for lack of a better term, and it’s causing me to live in the moment,” said Jones. “And that’s a good thing because I appreciate so much and every little thing matters to me.”

Jones, 25, was born and raised in Sacramento, California. Growing up, she played many sports, including soccer for Loretto High School. She continued her education at California State University, Sacramento where she received her bachelor’s degree in communications.

Upon graduating, she traveled to Italy to study abroad during the winter semester. There, Jones said, is where she was inspired to open her own clothing boutique.

“Our Italian-American liaison took me to this boutique opening, and it was super ritzy. I was touching things I could never afford in a million years,” said Jones. “But at the end of the day, I looked at it and was like, ‘This is what I want to do, but I need to figure out how to do this and inspire other people.’”

Her first business, Identity Boutique, was located in midtown Sacramento and catered to women. The business did well in her two years of owning it, but was more of a stepping-stone to something greater that she wanted to accomplish.

She sold her boutique, which is still up and running, to a friend and began her next journey; an apparel company called Stop Waiting For Friday.

The idea behind the brand’s name was to get people to live in the moment. “Stop waiting” was something she started with and then she thought about what people always wait for. Hence the words “For Friday.”

“I’d like it to be known as a brand that gives back and that is trying to make a difference, not necessarily just profit from this whole thing,” said Jones. “I hope that it grows with people knowing the positive influence that it has on the community and other charities.”

Jones and her company work with charities on a quarterly basis. Every four months, they choose a non-profit organization to donate money to. Within that time, the company donates 10 percent of all sales to the charity.

In 2015, SWFF will be working with Stomp Out Bullying, a charity that helps raise awareness and funds to help prevent bullying, on the #HELLAKIND campaign. Jones’ goal for the company is to raise $100,000 by donating $10 for every shirt they sell over a span of 10 months.

“That’s a really exciting project for me,” said Jones, “because we’ve got a lot of great people on board for that, and I can’t wait.”

Although it is less than a year old, the company has garnered a substantial following on social media — over 3,000 followers. Jones doesn’t know how far the company will go, but she’s ready to ride it out as far as she can.

“I can’t really say where it’s going to go or where it wants to go or where it should go,” said Jones. “For right now, I just want to make the most of the opportunities that are out there because obviously the larger I can grow my business, the more I can give back, and that’s what’s important to me.”

For more information about Stop Waiting For Friday and their charity events, visit http://swffapparel.com/

Photography done by Evan E. Duran  Story Written by Kris Hooks