Paces for Payton was originally started to help a local Idaho Falls family whose beautiful daughter Payton, at the age of 7 months, began having symptoms of respiratory distress and excessive sweating. She was taken to the local ER and was found to be in heart failure and had to be transported via Life Flight to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was determined that she had idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Payton's case was so severe the only way to save her life was to receive a heart transplant but unfortunately she was not strong enough to wait the time it would take on the heart transplant list. Within days of being admitted to the Cardiac ICU she was placed on a LVAD (left ventricular assistive device) to help her heart continue to keep her alive until a donor heart was available. Associated costs for her care approached $3 million and continued to grow.
She was blessed in August of 2013 with a life saving heart transplant because another family during their own tragedy decided to be someone’s hero. Without organ donation Payton would have passed away that week.
Payton had lots of ups and downs over the next few years. At Payton’s 1 year heart transplant anniversary she went in for a routine heart biopsy to check the health of the new heart. During the procedure she suddenly went cardiac arrest. This event caused a devastating stroke to the left side of her body making her unable to walk and even breath on her own. The only way to get her off breathing machines was for Payton to have a tracheotomy. She had a strong spirit and love for life. She spent 8 weeks in the neuro-trauma unit, defying all odds, and was able to walk with assistance before she came home.
Unfortunately she was only home for 9 months when she went into sudden cardiac arrest from complications associated with heart transplant rejection and spent 3 weeks in the Cardiac ICU before she lost her battle. She earned her angel wings in August of 2015.
We continue to hold this race in her honor and to keep her legacy alive. We want to help bring awareness to the importance of being a registered organ donor. Organ donation saves lives! Proceeds from the race are used to support other families who have a child is going through an organ transplant journey.
We could have never made this event successful without the love and support of this community and the great people that make this place home.
Thank you so much! And we hope to see you at our events!