Local 8th grader continues fighting each day as he awaits heart transplant

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Deon Kirkwood is an eighth grader at Armstrong Junior High in Starkville where he is known as “Mr. Armstrong” for his mighty spirit.

“He is very personable,” said his mother Wanda Kirkwood. “Ever since he started school they’ve called him the mayor of this school, that school. He has a lot of friends. Deon knows people that we don’t know. He’s just kind of made his way. He’s always been friendly, he loves going to church, and he loves being involved in whatever is going on.”

Right now, Deon Kirkwood is at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where he is awaiting a heart transplant.

“Deon was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which was half a heart at birth,” Wanda Kirkwood said. “When he was born, they sent him to an outreach clinic in Tupelo that Le Bonheur has up there, they checked him out, and said, ‘We got to get this baby out of Starkville.’ They flew him to Vanderbilt. When we got there, they said, ‘he’s got to have heart surgery.’ He’s had two more since then, but what happened recently, we were called him to tell us Deon was in heart failure because the last heart surgery was not working anymore.”

Back in March, things were looking up, and they were able to go home with regular checkups. But earlier this month, Deon had to return to Memphis.

“They told us, ‘Sorry, y’all are not going home.’ Deon has to go to the hospital and ICU because his heart is just not working for him, and anything could happen if y’all go home,” said Wanda Kirkwood.

“I miss all my teachers. And I miss having fun with my friends, my coaches, all that good stuff,” Deon Kirkwood said. “I just can’t wait to go home.”

His classmates and friends miss him too. Kim Harris is his teacher.

“We are getting the students together, we’re gonna create some slide shows, do some video chats, and create some different posters to send,” Harris said. “He has the biggest heart, he loves everybody, he wants to hug everybody, he wants to please everybody, he always, always carries a smile on his face.”

His mother Wanda Kirkwood said they miss being at home, but they are holding on to faith, and they will do whatever it takes for Deon.

“When the doctors tell us, ‘Hey, he’s gonna feel so much better, he’ll be able to do the things that were limited to him, once upon a time, but now, he’s gonna be the person that just gets out there and just goes,” Wanda Kirkwood said. “That’s What we’re looking forward to.”

Deon Kirkwood’s team is hopeful that they will have him a heart in the next couple of weeks.

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