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Boy with heart transplant dies on first day of schooL

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 2:17 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Peyton West woke up early Thursday morning, his first day back to school.

Carrying his red backpack, wearing his gray shirt and his red-framed glasses – red and gray are his favorite colors – he posed for a first-day-of-school picture outside his family’s house in Ohio, just outside Cincinnati.

The 13-year-old, who was born with only the right side of his heart functioning, had just recovered from a heart transplant followed by grueling months of recovery. Peyton seemed to be adjusting well to his new heart, until that Thursday morning, five months after his surgery. While on the car ride to school, he told his older brother that he was not feeling good, Peyton’s father, Corey West, told The Washington Post.

“Please pray,” the boy’s family wrote at about 8:30 a.m. on a Facebook page that chronicled his journey – the countless hours at the hospital, the several near-death experiences, the search for a donor, his recovery, his efforts to live life normally.

For more than two hours, Peyton did not have a heartbeat, as doctors tried to revive him, his father said. Finally, his family decided that the fight was over.

Peyton died at 10:45 a.m.

“We just kind of realized that, you know, his body is just tired and worn down,” West said. “He had an awesome five months. Without that organ donation, we wouldn’t have had these five months for Peyton to live like he hadn’t lived before.”

The story of the boy fondly nicknamed Warrior Heart has resonated not only in Goshen, Ohio, where his family lives, but also across the country. A GoFundMe page to help pay for his funeral has raised close to $12,000 as of Sunday, far surpassing its $7,500 goal. A local print shop has organized a fundraiser for the family by selling shirts that bear Peyton’s name on the front. On the back are the words “FOREVER OUR WARRIOR.”

The Facebook page has captivated many and racked up nearly 6,000 followers. There, his parents shared Peyton’s story, starting from before he was even born.

His mother, Melissa West, was 35 weeks pregnant when she found out that her son would spend the rest of his life trying to survive. By the time Peyton was 5, he had survived three open-heart surgeries. The first happened when he was just a day old. He had another one five months later and a third one just before his 5th birthday.



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