Mammoth student fights for his life

Evan Podsiad in L.A. hospital, awaiting heart transplant

Evan Podsiad needs a heart.

The 13-year-old Mammoth student, whose passion for jazz music catapulted him into Mammoth High School’s Advanced Jazz Band at the age of 12, currently is in Los Angeles awaiting a heart transplant.

Meanwhile, in Mammoth, Jazz Jubilee producers Ken and Flossie Coulter are putting the finishing touches on a fundraiser July 13 at Sam’s Woodsite, called “The Beat Goes On for Evan Benefit Fundraiser.”

The event, folded into the single summer festival that young Podsiad was counting on attending, but now can’t, will include raffle prizes, food, auction items and entertainment.

The proceeds from this event will go to Evan and his family to alleviate the financial burden of his heart transplant.

Evan, who currently is a patient at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, in mid-May was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C), a condition that accounts for 17 percent of all cardiac deaths among young people in the U.S.

His once-healthy heart muscle has been slowly replaced with non-functional tissue, resulting in the inability of his heart to function properly.   This genetic disorder is most often fatal, and rarely diagnosed in time.

“It has changed his life forever,” said Kama Newbry, who is among the leaders of the “The Heart Beats, Team Evan,” in an email message.

Newbry said the high altitude in Mammoth might have contributed to Evan’s survival.

“His physicians have concluded that Evan’s life-saving diagnosis was likely due to his home here in the high altitude,” she said.

Evan’s sudden medical journey began on May 15 when he was diagnosed with the heart condition.

After being stabilized, Evan was life-flighted from Renown Medical Center in Reno to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for further treatment.  Until that fateful day, Evan enjoyed a healthy and active life in Mammoth Lakes. 

Evan spent the early years of his life moving around the country, as a child of a Navy family. When his mother, Jill Thompson Podsiad, relocated her three boys to Mammoth several years ago, Newbry said, Evan made her promise that he would be able to stay in Mammoth until he finished high school.

Since May 15, though, Evan’s new home has been in the Cardio-Thoracic Intensive Care Unit at CHLA.

“Had he not been in Mammoth, Evan’s heart would likely have given out, unannounced, with no hope for treatment,” Newbry said. “It is thought that his life here in Mammoth is what actually saved his life.”

As of Wednesday, July 3, Evan was in “advanced heart failure,” Newbry said, and was awaiting a transplant.

Evan’s family, his mother Jill, a surgical technician at Mammoth Hospital, his 12-year-old brother Ian, his 17-year-old brother Adam, and his father Ryan, a U.S. Navy Officer, have all temporarily relocated to Los Angeles as Evan awaits his transplant, Newbry said.

“Evan’s family is faced with this new financial challenge of relocation, not to mention the estimated $3 million cost of his lengthy ICU stay and heart transplant.”

To help allay the costs of the procedure and other associated financial burdens, Newbry asked that donations be made to The Evan Podsiad Fund. Monetary donations can be sent to Eastern Sierra Bank, with Evan Podsiad Fund in the Memo note, and the team would arrange pick-up for other donations.

More information can be found by sending email to or by calling 707-498-8023.