A special little boy will help celebrate a major milestone for the American Heart Association.
2018 marks the 25th Annual Heart Walk.
One of the nonprofit's feature families this year knows the importance of research and lifesaving technology.
Wyatt Plogger has one big smile, one big personality and now, one big, healthy heart.
He's a typical little 4-year-old boy who’s full of energy.
It's a stark contrast to the baby who, his mother says, simply struggled.
“Spent many days in the hospital, months in the hospital, constantly having doctor's appointments, blood work just to check levels, like, it's always something,” said Stephanie Plogger, Wyatt’s mother.
Wyatt was 6 days old when he underwent his first surgery on his undeveloped heart.
However, it didn't work.
Wyatt went into heart failure, and the only cure was a transplant.
His parents were bracing for a long wait.
“Normal wait, I think, is like three to six months for an infant heart. We waited eight days. It was amazing,” Plogger said.
She remembers the moment she learned doctors found a perfect match.
“The doctor came in, I still remember it, and it was like 9:00 at night, and for some reason I couldn't leave him that night. It was really weird. He came in and he was like, 'Mrs. Plogger, I have some really exciting news for you,’" Plogger said. “He was like, 'We found the perfect match for Wyatt,' and I just lost it.”
Wyatt was immediately prepped for surgery.
Twelve long hours later, Plogger laid eyes on her son for the first time after the operation.
“He always had like this bluish color like skin, you know, just his blood wasn't per fusing correctly and he just didn't have adequate blood flow, and he was pink for the first time in his life. He looked like a normal baby,” said Plogger.
Today, he's a normal boy - except he wears a red cape to let the world know he's a survivor, thanks to a heart donation.
“I couldn't say enough thank yous [to the donor's family] ever. I couldn't tell them how much I appreciate, how much of a blessing they are, because their son's not here, but mine is. It's just not enough in the world that I could ever show them or tell them how much I appreciate what they've done for my family,” Plogger said.
If you would like to learn more about the Roanoke Regional Heart Walk click here.
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