Organization helps local parents pay for adopted daughter’s heart transplant

GASTONIA, N.C. — Sarah Guy and her family are living proof that laughter is the best medicine. It’s a good thing, because her parents say the 11-year-old has been in and out of the hospital several times since they adopted her as a baby.

“We adopted her in May 2012, so as soon as we got home, within a few days we went to the cardiologist and she was diagnosed,” said Sarah’s mother, Angie Guy. “Within another week, we had open-heart surgery.”

Doctors diagnosed Sarah with single ventricle. It’s defined as a heart defect in which one lower chamber doesn’t develop.

In January, Sarah passed out as a result.

“They tell you at the beginning that at some point they will need a transplant,” Angie explained. “Their hearts cannot go like this forever.”

It turns out, Sarah needed a transplant sooner than expected. She waited for a donor match in the hospital and passed the time with schoolwork.

She even celebrated her 11th birthday there.

The best birthday gift came on Feb. 13 when the transplant team at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte performed the life-saving surgery.

The Guy family left the hospital last Tuesday. They’ll be locked down at home for the next several months until Sarah’s immune system can rebuild itself.

She said she can’t wait to see her friends in person.

“I don’t like that I don’t get to walk the school halls anymore -- until next year, hopefully,” Sarah told Channel 9.

The family doesn’t know how much Sarah’s transplant will cost yet, but the Children’s Organ Transplant Association is working to raise $25,000 to help pay for related expenses.

Her parents said having Sarah home -- and healthy -- is worth every penny.

“We are truly blessed to have her here, and to have a remarkable recovery,” said her father, Jerry Guy. “We’re thankful.”

For more information on Sarah’s condition or to donate, click here.