WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- This month, the Western Mass News Surprise Squad is on a mission to help a West Springfield teen who recently had a life-saving heart transplant surgery.
It's a story that Western Mass News has been exclusively following since the fall and now the squad, in partnership with the Hyundai Dealers of western Mass., are proud to share a happy ending to his story with of course a surprise ending for Devin.
Devin Jones, is a typical 14-year-old boy who loves basketball, football, hockey, and of course video games. Western Mass News first introduced you to him at the beginning of November in the midst of his battle for his life to remind you one week he was perfectly healthy, enjoying fall activities with his family, and the next he was being transported to Boston Children's Hospital with the fear that something was wrong with his heart.
“I had a cough, and that’s really it, and then it started to get really worse,” Devin said.
What they thought might just be a flu or even COVID turned into the diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart that makes it difficult to pump blood through your body.
“He had never had any heart problems. When Baystate told me it was his heart I was in shock he had always been completely healthy,” Sheri Jones, Devin’s mother said.
After multiple surgeries and attempts to help his heart recover it became clear a transplant was the only option.
“They basically told me that he didn’t have this, he wasn’t going to live,” Sheri said.
Luckily due to his size and age, he qualified for either a children’s or adult heart and was put to the top of the waitlist. Within a few days, they received the call they had been praying for, Devin matched with a donor and would be getting a new heart. The surgery went well, and Devin’s condition steadily improved.
But, considering he was in a medically induced coma for nearly a month prior, doctors warned that the road to recovery would be long.
“It’s going to be hard to recover, but I am going to get through it. I won’t be able to play as much as I used to, but I’ll find ways,” Devin said.
After over two months in Boston making steady improvements, Devin was finally allowed to return home to West Springfield on Christmas Eve, where he continues to gain strength every day.
[Reporter: It’s so good to finally meet you in person, how are you doing?]
He even felt strong enough to meet the Western Mass News Surprise Squad in person.
[Reporter: We are here to give you a nice follow up for you, with everything going on. We have seen so many people just through our new stories and they have been so invested in your story, what’s that like?]
“It’s really overwhelming, but in a good way. It’s really nice to know you have support behind you,” Devin said.
Little did he know the real reason the cameras were rolling.
[Reporter: So Devin, we’ve been talking here in the back about your story. Now we want you to peek over here. The Western Mass News Surprise Squad has selected you, and we have some goodies to show you, congratulations, surprise.]
From even more Bruins gear to a new gaming system.
[Reporter: This may be something to keep you occupied on those days where you're home and waiting for your brother to get back from school. That's the face of an excited young man. Have you heard of that thing?]
Thanks to the Hyundai Dealers of western Mass. the surprises kept coming.
[Reporter: And there is still more in the bag, keep digging.]
“Wish we didn’t have masks on so you could see, he's smiling, he’s smiling,” Sheri Jones exclaimed.
[Reporter: It’s the least we could do for you after everything you’ve been through. We just wanted you to know that we and the entire community are behind you 100%. We’re so happy you’re home.]
And on top of all of that, Hyundai also gave their family an additional $500 to help with family expenses.
“Devin on behalf of the Hyundai Dealers, congratulations and welcome home. We wish you all the best,” Hyundai said. “Devin the courage that you’ve had through this has been unbelievable. We were really touched by your story. We just want to say welcome home, and we hope all of this fun stuff makes your time at home better.”
As far as Devin’s next stage of recovery, he looks forward to finally being able to head back to school, see his friends, and when cleared by his doctors play sports.