FAIRMONT — “He’s my sweet one,” Tashia Gibson said of her 13-year-old son Dorian. “He’s got a heart of gold.”
But the teenager needs it replaced.
On Aug. 27, Dorian’s heart was attacked by a virus and was damaged so badly he will need a heart transplant as soon as possible.
“When he started feeling bad, I took him to the doctor,” Gibson said. “When he didn’t get better, I took him to Dillon, and they said his organs were failing.
“We went to Florence, and they said he had myocarditis, a virus in his heart,” she said. “They didn’t have what it takes to help him, so he was airlifted to Duke.”
Tashia has been with Dorian through every minute, refusing even to spend nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Durham. With time off from work and no paycheck coming in, bills are piling up. They travel to Duke every Thursday for a checkup.
The family has set up a GoFundMe site at www.gofundme.com/dorians-heart-transplant/ on which they ask for help as Dorian is treated until he can get a transplant. They are asking for $10,000 to offset expenses.
“At first, they told us Dorian had to stay at Duke until a heart was found,” Gibson said. “Over the weekend, he improved, and we’re home now. God intervened.”
Home means a round-the-clock IVs and a lot of medication.
“I’ve had to learn a lot, and Dorian has memorized all his medication,” his mother said. “But the doctors up there love him. He’s a good-hearted boy.”
Until the virus attacked, Dorian was an active young man who was looking forward to entering the sixth grade at Fairmont Middle School. He never made it to the first day.
“Some of Dorian’s friends said he was so lucky not to have to go to school,” Gibson said. “He said he would much rather be in school than where he is now.”
Dorian does the homework sent from school and has enough energy to go outside, but not much more. On Tuesday, he was having a good day.
“I like to play football and baseball,” Dorian said. “Yeah, I like to hunt and fish, too. My papa has a pond and said we would go fishing when I get better.”
For now, his mother watches Dorian’s health signs carefully. She’s scared, and there are so many more miles to go.
“Two hearts came in while we were at Duke,” Gibson said. “They were not matches for Dorian.”
Tashia was told to keep her phone with her at all times. When it happens, it will go very quickly.
“Dorian keeps a backpack ready all the time, and I have a bag packed,” Gibson said.
An organ transplant is a lifetime of medical care. Because Dorian is so young, he will need more than one heart in that lifetime.
Dorian has appreciated the cards and prayers people have sent him. One of the local motorcycle clubs is organizing a bike run fundraiser. It’s planned for June 3.
Reach Scott Bigelow at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]