After months of waiting, Phenix City teenager gets new heart

Many kids claim to have heart, but one Phenix city girl can now say she has a new one.

Miranda Spurlin, 14, has been in and out of hospitals since an undiagnosed congenital heart abnormality caused her to collapse Dec. 22 in her Phenix City home. After months of waiting, she received a heart transplant Wednesday morning at Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, Ala.

After her collapse she was taken to Jack Hughston Memorial then to Midtown Medical Center in Columbus and Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta, where she flat-lined. A pacemaker was placed and she was then moved to Birmingham to wait for a this day, the day she could get a transplant.

“She’s been a trooper,” said said Janet Winkles, mother of one of Miranda’s close friends. “For a 14-year-old to have gone through this—it’s unbelievable.”

Spurlin went into surgery at 9 a.m. and left around 2 p.m.

At the vigil, friends said that though she will be in the hospital for another six to eight weeks, any major issues with the transplant would have shown early on.

Friends of the family gathered at the Phenix City Amphitheater Wednesday to hold a celebratory prayor vigil.

“This is for anybody who would like to pray and thank God for a heart, because that’s what we’ve been praying for,” said Janet Winkles, mother of one of Miranda’s close friends.

Winkles said there is so much to be grateful for, from the heart, to that the accident happened how it did. Spurlin has had the heart condition undiagnosed since birth “It was just a blessing she made it this far.”

Winkles has been spearheading fundraisers Spurlin was diagnosed. In February, she partnered with a Phenix City Chick-fil-A to have 20 percent of all sales mentioning Spurlin go to the family. Winkles said Chick-fil-A had 2,500 orders that day and donated 20 percent of all of them, netting $4,000 for the Spurlins.

Winkles also had a fundraiser where supporters stood at the roadside and campaigned also raised $4,000. Through the sale of shirts and bracelets, "A Heart for Miranda," a Facebook page and American Mothers on a Mission page, had managed to raise about $2,000 in February.

Winkles said there is one more benefit for Spurlin on Saturday at the Cebtral Activity Center where they will sell barbecue and have a silent auction.

“The father is now out of paid time off,” Winkles explained, “the money we’re raising is his salary until he can go back to work.”

Winkles, who works in insurance, said they are not trying to raise money for medical bills because for such an extended hospital stay, and for such a complicated procedure, the cost would be too high.

Pastor Brian Turner, of Grace Community Church read from the book of Isaiah and lead the group in prayer.

As the group prepared to disperse, a phone rang. Penelope Spurlin, Miranda's stepmother who was with her at the hospital, said on speakerphone, “she’s going to get better.”