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‘Keepin’ it reel’

Junior bass fisherman receives SPUD Week funds after stroke
Jason Pape
Junior Cade Dornburg, along with junior Braxten Alexander, received the Angler of the Year award in 2021.

Junior Cade Dornburg should have been at football practice. Instead, he was in the hospital, suffering from a stroke.

Dornburg was born with atrial septal defect, a heart condition that causes a hole in the upper chambers of the heart. The hole enlarged as he grew older, causing blood to pool and flow in the wrong direction.

“The doctors never found a blood clot anywhere,” Dornburg said, “but they diagnosed it as a stroke because I lost feeling and went numb on the left half of my body.”

Dornburg had his first surgery when he was in fifth grade and an extensive open heart surgery last year. The junior is this year’s beneficiary for SPUD Week, which will take place from March 27 to April 1. The FACS program, with help from other clubs and local businesses, will host events and activities to raise money for the Dornburg family.

“It was nice to see I have a community behind me and that my parents will have more stress lifted off their shoulders financially,” Dornburg said. “The fundraiser will help cover medical and travel expenses.”

Cade’s mother, Heather Dornburg, received the news of her son’s stroke through a phone call.

“The never-ending questions that go through your head are torturous,” Heather said. “Once we received the diagnosis that Cade had a stroke, we were shocked.”

This year’s theme for SPUD Week is ‘Keepin’ It Reel’ in honor of Dornburg’s fishing exploits. Along with FACS, clubs such as Student Council, National Honor Society and the American Sign Language Club will be raising funds throughout the week. Community members can pre-order t-shirts here.

“Since Cade’s stroke, he’s had numerous tests and doctor’s visits,” Heather Dornburg said. “Because of our faith, friends, family, the football team, coaches, counselors and teachers, we’ve kept our sanity. The funds will be a blessing and allow us to focus on supporting Cade in his recovery.”

Dornburg is a member of the bass fishing team and varsity football team and had to sit out for the season because of his medical procedures.

“Cade is a very outgoing and active person, so the stroke and surgery caused a big change to his lifestyle,” said Jordan Todd, Dornburg’s girlfriend and classmate. “But he’s also very positive, and he maintained that positivity throughout the journey to recovery which was very admirable.”

This story was originally published on Valley Ventana on March 22, 2023.