Baby boy receives heart transplant at Phoenix Children’s

A baby who had been on the waitlist for five months got a heart transplant right before turning 8 months old at Phoenix Children's.
Published: May. 28, 2023 at 9:20 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Hunter Cooper is lying in a Phoenix Children’s hospital bed in the intensive care unit this weekend after receiving a heart transplant Saturday. On Monday, he’ll turn 8 months old. His mother, Amber, said Hunter has never been home since birth due to hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). “When I first found out about it, I was completely devastated,” said Amber. “Pretty much what that is, is that on the left side of his heart it’s not pumping strong enough to pump blood into the aortic valve arch that will pump blood to his brain and into his limbs.”

She said he had surgeries to help his heart pump blood but needed to be added to a waitlist for a heart transplant five months ago. “I felt like it was never going to happen. It just took forever,” said Amber.

However, on Saturday before 3 a.m., Amber got a call. “They’re like, ‘Amber, we have a heart. We’ve already accepted it. We just need your go to.’ I said,’ do it. Just do it. I approve. Do it,’” she said.

She said Hunter went into surgery around 11 a.m. and wasn’t out of the operating room until after midnight on Sunday. It’s a gift of life Hunter’s aunt, Krystal Mann, helped with by joining a charity called Children’s Organ Transplant Association. The charity helps families with medical costs through fundraising events.

Mann is the Team Hunter representative and wears many hats to organize fundraisers for her nephew. “They are incredibly helpful and extremely resourceful and an absolute Godsend to be a part of everybody’s family. They’re with you from the start, to the end and beyond,” said Mann.

They urge families in a similar situation to reach out to COTA and hold on to hope. “Don’t give up. It will happen. It’s just a matter of when,” said Amber.

Amber said Hunter’s transplant was covered by insurance, but the family had to move from Tucson to Scottsdale to make traveling for medical care easier. They also expect Hunter to need medical aftercare for possibly the rest of his life. If you want to donate to the Cooper family, click here.

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