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Shawn Middleton
Heart Transplant 19th Oct 2006

Shawn MiddletonThirteen-year-old Shawn Middleton, of Magnolia, was given back his future this month when the unknown family of a 17-year-old donated their son's heart.

"They will never know how much this means," Brenda Middleton, Shawn's mother said. "I am going to write them. This donor was also responsible for four or five other organ donations. That is just amazing."

After waiting for more than one year, Shawn and his mother received the news that a heart was available on Oct. 18. Hurry up and wait turned into hurry up and go, and the Middletons were at Texas Children's Hospital in a few hours. Shawn's surgery began at 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 19 2006 and ended more than 12 hours later at 2 p.m. Shawn's surgery just happened to be on the same day as his father's birthday. It was a coincidence the family took as a sign of good luck.

"Shawn was weak but doing great after his surgery," his mother said. "But it took three people to get him into a chair the day after."

David Middleton, Shawn's father who lives in Conroe, is hopeful the transplant will be successful.
"Hopefully this will buy him a new future," he said.

On the day of the surgery, Magnolia Junior High School observed a moment of silence for anyone who wanted to pray for their classmate. MJH students are also sending cards to congratulate Shawn and encourage him during his recovery.

Shawn Middleton's struggle for life really began at birth. When he was born, he was diagnosed with Leukemia and began chemotherapy when he was just two days old. The treatments damaged his heart muscle.

With regular visits and ECHO cardiograms, doctors monitored their young patient's progress throughout his childhood. Everything went well until Shawn's sixth grade year. That year he went into heart failure and was put on medication. Once again, Shawn was able to live the nearly normal life of a pre-teen. But problems resurfaced last August when a routing ECHO revealed his heart functioning at 10 percent.

"He was in the hospital for six weeks then," Brenda Middleton recalled. "They put a pacemaker in him, told him he was a good candidate for a transplant and sent us home to wait."

The news, "good candidate for a transplant," was taken in stride by the single-mom who cleans houses for a living. Waiting and doctor visits were routine. On medication and making monthly trips to the transplant clinic, Shawn passed the time on his computer chatting with friends. But the medications took their toll and Shawn gained 40 pounds, mostly fluid.

"The surgery was a little more complicated with his weight gain," Brenda said. "But the doctors said everything went well. He is ready to come home and get back to his computer."

Brenda Middleton was not alone as she sat waiting during her son's surgery. Along with family and friends, a Magnolia heart patient advocate and transplant veteran, Bob Pitcock, was there supporting her.

"I have been a friend of Shawn and his mother for the past year," Pitcock said. "He even took the time to call me before they went to Texas Children's Hospital. I told him I was on my way and would be there for him. I see nothing but a bright future for Shawn now. Without this transplant, he would have died."
Shawn received a follow-up ECHO cardiogram on Oct. 23 and the results were great, according to his mother.
"His ECHO was perfect," she said.

After taking a moment of reflection on the events of the past year, Brenda Middleton said she is very thankful for her blessings.

"I have a friend who recently lost her 12-year-old son to a bone marrow transplant," she said. "For me, it is amazing to think Shawn has someone else's heart in side of him. It is like I am in a dream right now."

Steve Henderson
Double Heart Transplant
January 15th 1993
and again on
November 18th 1999

Steve Henderson
Steve and his Grand-daughter Katy
Christmas 1999 shortly after second transplant

"Hope you get some good from this, it can be done twice, my faith and my doctors pulled me through!!!!!"

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