EUGENE, Ore. — Jarod Doerner is just 13-years-old and six weeks ago, he suddenly fell ill.
He was transferred to the Standford Medical Center where his family was told it could take six months to a year for him to get a new heart. But not long after his name was put on the transplant list, his family received heart-warming news.
He took the biggest steps of his life thus far, walking from one room to another with his new heart just a week ago.
“It’s doing as well as his own heart would be doing at this point,” said Jarod’s father, Dan Doerner.
Six weeks ago, Jarod developed a cough and it didn’t take long before he was sent to the Stanford Medical Center in California and was told he needed a heart transplant, leaving his family searching for answers.
“I would give my heart right now if it would help him,” said Dan.
They say doctors told them once Jarod was on the transplant list, it’d take time to find a donor match.
“The average is six months. We’ve heard nine months, twelve months even. We ran into one child down there who’s waiting two years for a heart transplant,” said Dan.
After weeks of working with their health insurance, Jarod’s name was finally on the list, bringing the family a sense of relief. Shortly after, Dan got a phone call from his wife, Candace, that left him in shock.
“She says ‘Dan, are you sitting down?’ and I said ‘No. What’s going on?’ and she’s crying. I’m thinking, for a split second something was wrong. Then she starts giggling,” said Dan.
The shocking news: doctors found a donor match for Jarod.
“He was on the transplant list for only eight days, which is almost unheard of,” said Dan.
The call came on June 29 and by July 1, Jarod had a new heart.
“When we first noticed the symptoms that he had a cough, he looked pale, couldn’t eat, was six weeks ago and now he has a new heart. This whole process has been unbelievable fast,” said Dan.
Now his family’s hoping for a healthy recovery so he can come back home.
“Wonderful. We haven’t stopped crying because it’s just the idea that he got his heart and now he can heal and get better and come home,” said Jarod’s grandmother, Judi Schons.
“I’m excited for him to see his stuffed animals,” said Peyton Doerner, Jarod’s younger sister.
“Before the transplant, it was a lot of unknowns. ‘When will it happen? When can he come home?’ all these different things and now we have this. It’s going to be soon,” said Dan.
Those unknowns vanishing one by one, as Jarod took the 50-foot journey from one room to another, step by step.
Dan says it’s still unclear when Jarod is coming back to Eugene, but Jarod wants to make it in time for school.
Dan says if you’re interested in keeping up with Jarod’s journey, you can follow updates on their Facebook page, “Support Jarod Doerner”.