BEND,Ore. - A Bend family is extremely thankful as their 9-year-old daughter is making a full recovery after getting a heart transplant late last month.
Peyton Bartz, 9, had realized she struggled to keep up with many kids her age; oftentimes experiencing shortness of breath and became quickly winded when playing.
Cheryl Bartz, Peyton's mother, said Tuesday she realized her tiredness worsened over the years and took Peyton to the hospital last May.
Doctors at first diagnosed Peyton with asthma. But when her condition did not improve with the use of inhalers, her doctors decided to do more research.
In July, doctors told Bartz that Peyton had an enlarged heart and diagnosed her with restrictive cardiomyopathy, which occurs when the walls of the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) are too rigid to expand as they fill with blood.
Initially, Peyton received care at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Palo Alto, California, and they recommended Peyton received a heart transplant. Unfortunately, a few days after that recommendation, Bartz was told her insurance would not cover the transplant, because they needed more information.
After battling with the insurance company and filing several appeals to have the transplant approved, Peyton was authorized to have a transplant at Seattle Children's Hospital.
Four days after being approved for the heart transplant, Bartz received a call that a new heart was available for Peyton.
Bartz shared the moment of how they learned Peyton would receive a new heart.
"I usually don't answer (the phone), if I don't know who it is," she said. "So I clicked it off, and about 30 seconds later, my husband's phone rang, and we're like, 'Uh you better answer that.' He answered it, and then we looked at each other. We all knew, you're never quite ready."
Bartz and her husband have two older daughters, a high school senior and middle school student who travel back and forth from Bend to Seattle to be with Peyton.
Peyton had her transplant surgery on Oct. 27 and is making a full recovery, her mother said. The family will remain in Seattle until early January as Peyton continues to recover and attend doctor visits. Peyton is a fourth-grader at Ensworth Elementary School, which Bartz said has supported the family throughout the process.
Peyton said she's prepared to take full advantage of being able to keep up with other kids her age.
"I want to play soccer -- that is mostly my main priority," Peyton said. "My best friend plays, and she always says, 'Yay, we won the game!' I want to be like that! I want to say, 'we won the game!' Right now I can't, but I will, though! So that's the good thing."
A GoFundMe page was created to help Peyton and her family, https://www.gofundme.com › peytonjoysheart.