A video of a Michigan teenager’s emotional reaction following his heart transplant to feeling better after suffering for months has touched the internet, moving viewers by the boy’s joyful reaction to be alive.
Trevor Sullivan, 15, hadn’t felt well for some time, but his parents thought it was something simple.
“What we thought was just a common cold or... appendicitis, because he was holding his side... was severe cardiomyopathy," Trevor’s father, Philip Sullivan, told INSIDE EDITION.
Doctors determined in February 2015 that Trevor was suffering from severe heart failure that would require a heart transplant and after a series of back-and-forth trips from the hospital, he became a full-time patient in September.
“He was very weak and tired. The heart was just so enlarged; it was hard for him to breathe, hard for him to move around,” Sullivan said.
The family worked to remain positive as they waited for Trevor to receive a donor heart, with his mother Kimberly Sullivan staying at the hospital during the week while Philip Sullivan remained at home with their three other children.
On weekends, Sullivan and Trevor’s siblings made the hour journey to CS Motts Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor to be with the teen.
“Then on November 12, we got the call. ‘We found a match; we got a good heart," Sullivan told IE.
Trevor underwent what was considered a risky surgery the next day and his father was ready to record when he woke up.
“At about 8 o'clock at night, he finally started waking up. It was a spur of the moment thing (to film). We thought 'hey he's waking up, hey he's alive!'”
When the teen finally opened his eyes, his first words left his family—and now, thousands of others— stunned.
“I'm so happy. I’ve been waiting so long. I’m so happy,” Trevor said in a video his father shared on Facebook. “I can breathe again and talk. I feel good. I feel amazing. It’s amazing. I haven’t felt so good, I never felt so good.”
Sullivan recalled watching his son finally feel well again, saying: “We were just overjoyed. My kid made it. My wife's put it in the best way; that it was like watching a new born baby again. He's 15 years old, but it was like seeing him born again."
The video has quickly gone viral, amassing more than 10,000 shares and 8,000 likes on Facebook in a few days’ time.
“The reaction has been good. Family and friends were following this story from the beginning... now it's blown up to the masses. To watch it grow and see how many of these stories are out there. People are saying 'my son passed away and donated his organs' and 'my father received a heart transplant, a cornea transplant, a kidney transplant, a liver transplant,' you see both sides to it,” Sullivan said.
Trevor has since begun to recover and wants to return to his routine, his father said.
“He's doing really good… he's active and wanting to go back to school," he said, saying that Trevor will be able to return to classes in March.
The slow but steady return to normalcy was made possible by the organ donation.
“The reason we posted this video is to promote organ donation. Everybody knows someone who may have some connection (to organ donation), but to actually put it in context to see how meaningful it is... it's why you need to be an organ donor,” Sullivan said.
To learn more about organ donation, visit Donate Life America.