Kansas teen heart transplant patient received restored 1965 Must - KCTV5

Kansas teen heart transplant patient received restored 1965 Mustang

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Ayden Ethridge, 15, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy earlier this year after his heart stopped while he was standing in front of his mother on Valentines Day. (KCTV5) Ayden Ethridge, 15, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy earlier this year after his heart stopped while he was standing in front of his mother on Valentines Day. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

There was a big surprise for a young heart transplant patient Saturday morning at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Ayden Ethridge, 15, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy earlier this year after his heart stopped while he was standing in front of his mother on Valentines Day.

"I was told there was an event where I'd get to meet other heart transplant kids. Possibly have a get together. Which I was excited for, but I didn't expect anything like this to happen," he said.

Ayden is now the proud new owner of his mother's fully restored 1965 Ford Mustang. It was something he'd always wanted to work on and eventually have for himself, but he had never been able to come up with enough money.          

But now, thanks to the Mustang Racing Technology team in Michigan, Ayden's dream just became a reality.

"I had no idea, up until this point I had no idea what was going on," he said.

The Fredonia, KS teen has earned this car.

"I can't tell you what it's like when every alarm goes off and your child's heart stopped beating. He came back online, and the next day they came in to tell us he had two weeks left," Ayden's mother, Jill Gillette, said.

Incredibly, that meeting went from being the worst news to being the best news within minutes.

It was during that meeting that news came that Ayden was about to get a new heart, becoming the fifth heart transplant patient at Children's Mercy.       

It's been sixth months since Ayden underwent that life-saving surgery and since then, he's already back to cross country running.

"He's got a lot of conditioning to do because he was on life support for so long. He's not used to his new heart. His new heart is very, very strong,” Gillette said. “He's still adjusting to his new heart but he's been cleared to go back to school and exercise."

And he will, but for now, there's some driving to do. Ayden says the first place he wants to drive is to school.

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