Miracle Milestone: Gloucester 5-year-old graduates with a ‘special heart’

Preschool graduation is always a milestone, but for Brody Martin, it’s also a miracle. The 5-year-old almost didn’t live to see his first birthday but thanks to an angel and a heart transplant, he is now experiencing childhood like every other kid in his class.

Brody Martin was only 7 weeks old when he went into cardiac arrest.

Brody’s mom, Lauren Martin, said it happened out of the blue. She and Brody were visiting her parents for Thanksgiving in 2012 when the 7-week-old baby suddenly went into cardiac arrest.

“He just turned blue,” Lauren said. “He was airlifted out and then transferred to UVA Medical Center.”

Doctors saved his life – for the moment – and diagnosed him with cardiomyopathy.
“His heart had grown so large that it pushed into his right lung,” Lauren said. “He needed an IV to live and they listed him for a heart transplant.”

Lauren and Brody waited. And waited.

Brody was on a transplant list for two months, not long in the grand scheme of things, but an eternity for a single mother living out of a hospital with an infant in a city hours away from home.

“We were at UVA Medical Center for the first 6 months of his life,” she said.

Lauren and Brody lived in Gloucester, Va. but essentially moved to the Charlottesville hospital on the other side of the state. Her family helped out and together, they all waited for the call.

Actually, it wasn’t a call but a walk-in.

Brody’s new heart

“We were in the pediatric ICU,” Lauren said. “It was a Sunday. I don’t remember who the doctor was who came in but he said they had a heart for Brody.”

Twelve hours later, Brody went into surgery and came out with a new heart.
Lauren doesn’t know who the donor was – only that a family gave her child the chance to live.

“They said they had a heart for Brody.”

Brody was discharged after two weeks but they needed to stay close so Lauren rented a house in Charlottesville for five more months.

It was a good thing she did – Brody was hospitalized three times as his body tried to reject his new heart. Doctors were able to treat the problem with IV medication each time and today, Brody is doing well.

Onward and upward
Brody is now living life with no restrictions and is helping to take care of his little brother – 2-year-old Brady. He’s also very excited about starting kindergarten in the fall.

He doesn’t really understand about the transplant but he knows he had surgery and Lauren has written a short story to explain it to him.

“All I’ve told him is an angel sent him a special heart,” she said.