COAL VALLEY, Illinois (WQAD) — In September 2013, 12-year-old Daniel Lyons of Silvis was told his heart was failing. In January 2014, he returned home from a successful heart transplant with a new heart.
"I was normal," Lyons said. "I was playing video games, just like I do now, but then my heart enlarged. I went into cardiac arrest and my life changed after that."
"They said his heart looked like an 85 year old man's heart," mother Laura Schmidt said. "He was only 12 years old."
Daniel was placed on the transplant list for one week, before getting the call about a new heart.
"I didn't think my son was gonna make it," mother Laura Schmidt said. "Watching him just lay there in a coma and pretty much dead, it really tore me apart. I didn't think my son was gonna come home, and then they told us he would. "
Daniel Lyons is now 17 years old and living successfully with his new heart. He is set to graduate High School in May 2019. He plays basketball with his friends, plays video games and has had a job at Hy-Vee for over one year.
"When he came out of surgery, he looked like a whole different kid," Schmidt said. "He looked so good."
Daniel's 14-hour transplant surgery took place on Christmas Eve 2013, making the holiday special to his family.
" Christmas is my favorite holiday," Lyons said. "Just remembering 5 years ago, when I got my heart, and I'm just thankful I'm still here."