The blood drive Trey Scott of West Richland helped organize at the Kennewick Ranch & Home store had to go on without him Thursday.
The 18-year-old is in Seattle recovering from a double-lung transplant a few weeks ago at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Using Skype, an internet teleconferencing service, Scott was able to participate vicariously as his fellow Cardiac Kids, their parents and friends rolled up their sleeves for a good cause.
Cardiac Kids is a nonprofit made up of children with congenital heart defects and their parents.
As a newborn, Scott had his first surgery to correct a heart defect.
"He was plumbed so he'd only get oxygen to his lungs and not the rest of his body," said his mom, Sunnie Scott.
Scott lived a healthy life for three years, then developed pulmonary hypertension, but not as a result of the heart defect.
Pulmonary hypertension is a narrowing of the blood vessels in the lungs. The restriction raises blood pressure, making the heart work harder, causing the right side to enlarge. When that happens, not enough blood flows to the lungs to pick up oxygen.
At 31/2, Scott was put on the organ transplant list but placed on inactive status when doctors were able to use drugs instead of surgery to help him breathe.
"The medicines gave him a quality of life that would be better than after a transplant. The survival rates of transplant patients are better when they're older," she said.
But as Scott grew older, his condition worsened.
"He's pretty much been a recliner kid for years," his mom said. Yet his goal always has been to graduate this year with his class at Richland High.
He loves school, even though he only could attend about three hours a day. For years, Scott has taken extra classes and now needs just three more credits to graduate.
In June, he went back on the transplant list but at number 35 was pretty low.
"We were surprised to hear the call came at 6 a.m. (on Feb. 9), by 6:30 he and mom were out the door and nearly on the plane," said older sister Crystal Benson of West Richland.
By 11 a.m. that same morning, he was going into surgery. He was discharged from the hospital Feb. 28 and is living with his parents in transplant housing in the University district.
He'll need to stay there for three months as doctors monitor his overall condition and he undergoes physical therapy to build up his strength.
Scott has already been out walking with his dad, Gene.
"I needed a Starbucks," Scott said to Benson via Skype.
After talking with her brother on the computer at the blood drive, Benson said, "It looks like he has a lot of energy today."
Before Scott's surgery, Bill Dress, a partner in the Tri-Cities' Ranch & Home stores, had offered to do some type of a fundraiser. Scott chose to give something back to the community through the blood drive.
"That's just like him," said Sunnie Scott. "He doesn't want things to be about him. He says, I got this disease and I want a bigger good, a better good, to come out of it."
At age 11, Scott founded the Teddy Bear Auxiliary. He, his siblings and his friends collect toys and money and donate them to pediatric units at area hospitals.
"I expect, as he becomes an adult, he'll use his experiences to make the community a better place," said his mom.
On Thursday, almost 38 people turned out to donate blood.
"It's exciting. Especially how the Cardiac Kids and his friends carried on with the blood drive. We're very appreciative," said his sister.