Hundreds pay respects to Peyton West, 13-year-old heart transplant recipient

Posted at 12:01 AM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 05:21:28-04

GOSHEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Hundreds waited in line at Goshen High School Tuesday night to pay their respects to Peyton West, a 13-year-old heart transplant recipient who collapsed and died on his first day of eighth grade.

"Peyton was a very special young man," principal Nick Inabnitt said. "Not only for his classmates and his teacher but also our community."

Friends and family described West, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, as a sports fan, and an irrepressibly cheerful presence despite his lifelong medical struggle.

He was especially close with the Goshen High football team, members of which will take turns wearing the No. 44 jersey -- West's favorite number -- throughout the upcoming season.

"As a high school football player, to see that kid look up to you is a feeling we just can't replace," player Brandon Harrison said.

Also among Tuesday night's attendees were members of the Cisneros family. Derek Cisneros, who was killed in a car crash on the way to a soccer game, posthumously donated his heart to West in March.

"We told Peyton that Derek's passion was soccer, and he get into soccer," Victor Cisneros, Derek's brother, said. "It was really awesome for us to see Peyton love soccer so much out of nowhere."

Despite his short life, Harrison said West left an indelible mark on the people he knew.

"It's just crazy how many people he can bring into one place," he said.