Peyton West’s parents would never have thought that his first day of school this year was going to be his last.
The 13-year-old had survived a heart transplant in March and spent the past five months living a full and fun life, said his father, Corey West.
He developed a passion for food, especially Mexican. Soccer became his favorite sport, and he would watch FC Cincinnati professional games with his dad. It wasn’t a coincidence that it had been his heart donor, Derek’s, favorite sport, too.
“Peyton thought, ‘hey, if Derek loved soccer, then I love soccer,’ ” West said.
Peyton woke up on Thursday excited for his first day of eighth grade in Goshen, Ohio. He was being goofy, West said, and the family took a photo of him smiling on their front porch. But 15 minutes later, when older brother Ethan dropped him off at school, everything changed.
He told Ethan he didn’t feel well and then collapsed, West said. Ethan carried him to the school nurse’s office. An ambulance rushed the boy to the hospital before his mother, Melissa, joined them.
The medics told Melissa West that they were quick to leave because Peyton’s heart had stopped and it was a sight that no mother should see, West said.
Doctors tried for 2½ hours to revive him, but Peyton died at the hospital. | Peyton was born November 6, 2003, with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.