Johnston school pulls together to help boy who needs a heart

Learn how paper hearts are helping a local first-graders get his own.
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 2:04 PM EST
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JOHNSTON, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The folks at a local school are working together to give back to one of their own.

Seven-year-old Lamere Johnson is a first-grader at Johnston Elementary.

“This is the best,” Lamere said. “I love coming here.”

It’s a place where he’s found lots of friendship and love.

“He takes quite a few minutes to get to my classroom because he is always greeting everyone that walks down the hallway,” first-grade teacher Carolyne Horton said.

His love and energy make him popular and appreciated, but it’s his medical condition that’s bringing the community and school closer together.

“Lamere was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome when he was in my womb,” said his mom, Contessa Culbereath.

“They decided he is going to need a heart transplant.

“I know that’s a life-or-death situation with Lamere.”

For his mom, it’s a battle she’s lost once before.

“I lost a daughter with the same heart condition as Lamere,” she said.

It’s also a battle she’ll never stop fighting — along with support from the school and people in the community she says have hope.

She says Lamere’s been excited since finding out he’s getting a new heart.

“My name is Lamere. I’m getting a transplant son so I can play football,” the boy says.

“I’m special.”

The people at the school have shown lots of love and support by placing paper hearts down the hallways in honor of Lamere and each person who made a donation for Lamere.

His mom says this will be Lamere’s fourth heart surgery, but regardless of his condition, he still manages to love unconditionally.

“Thanks for buying Lamere hearts,” his mom says.

“He’s happy, and I guess it makes me happy.”

How to help

To donate toward Lamere’s transplant, visit

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