While back-to-school time is always stressful for students and parents alike, that feeling was amplified this year for the West family of Ohio.
Whereas most kids dread the first day, 13-year-old Peyton West was happy to go back this year. He suffered through and survived so much and he was happy to feel like a normal kid again. Over the years, he’s gone through surgery after surgery to fix a complicated condition. The first day felt like a new, albeit stressful, beginning for the boy this year.
But tragically for the Ohio teen, his first day of eighth grade would also be his last.
When Peyton West woke up one Thursday morning, he was excited for his first day of eighth grade to begin.
Just like everyone else, he took a cute photo before setting out with his brother.
Upon arriving at school, however, Peyton let his brother know that he wasn’t feeling well. Concerned given Peyton’s past, Ethan rushed Peyton to the school nurse, who quickly made the decision to call 911.
Peyton was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where Mom joined them. According to paramedics, her son’s heart had stopped beating not long after they picked him up. After more than two hours of trying to revive him, Peyton was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Peyton had a history of heart problems. He was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome not long after his birth in 2003.
Essentially, the teen was born with only half a heart. Instead of having two ventricles, Peyton was born with only one.
In his first few years of life, the brave boy endured numerous open-heart surgeries.
In January of this year, as Peyton’s heart continued to fail, doctors suggested he undergo a heart transplant. In the months leading up to his death, Peyton saw a significant increase in his overall well-being. He was doing great.
But as Peyton’s parents and doctors struggle to figure out what went wrong, hundreds of close family and friends gathered at the boy’s school to pay their respect for the beloved son, brother, and student.