Ailing SVHS freshman undergoes heart transplant in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Just over three weeks ago, Wade Smith was placed on the transplant list for a new heart, designated as status code 1A, meaning he was a candidate with the highest priority on the basis of medical urgency.
The Spring Valley High School freshman has been a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, since mid-September while he battles an extreme heart condition.
On Tuesday of last week, Smith and his family were made aware that a donor heart had become available and the transplant could be performed in the immediate future. After waiting overnight, Smith was taken into the operating room at approximately 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The minimum six-hour-long procedure officially began around 11 a.m. According to Nicole Anderson, a close family friend, the Smiths were to receive updates every two hours. Around 6 p.m. Wednesday, Anderson said everything with the transplant had gone as expected.
While hundreds poured out their support for Smith and his family on social media in the hours leading up to and during his operation, the community had another opportunity to raise money and offset medical and other expenses that have added up in recent weeks.
Hwy 55 Burgers Shakes and Fries in downtown Huntington designated Wednesday as “Wade Smith Day” and announced it would donate 15 percent of all profits made that day to the Smith family.
“It makes me proud to live here. Anytime there is something like this going on, it seems like the whole town pulls together,” said Fallon Boggs, an employee of the restaurant. “It’s a great place to live and Hwy 55 is a great place to work, especially when it comes to helping out your neighbor through a charity event.”
The fundraiser was planned weeks in advance but ended up occurring the same day as Smith’s heart transplant, a fitting way to recognize a large step in Smith’s recovery.
“It’s unbelievable to see everyone coming in and being here for Wade,” Anderson said. “I told the general manager last night that it’s almost like a celebration for everybody to get together tonight and celebrate him.”
Yesterday, reports from family members had Smith in good condition with chest tubes and IVs removed and medication being administered by mouth. Smith was expected to be back on a regular floor at the hospital and out of the ICU.
Donations to the Smith family can also be made at https://www.gofundme.com/smith-gamily-medical-expenses.