Heart transplant

8-year-old girl dances again after second heart transplant

Eight-year-old Payton Garcia Archie isn’t just hanging out. She gets away with it.

Since the age of 2, she has been taking lessons at The World of Dance in Colonie. Her heart belongs on the dance floor, but keeping the beat alive has been an ongoing battle.

When he was born, he was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia, a heart defect in which the valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs does not form at all.

What do you want to know

  • Payton Garcia Archie, 8, had his second heart transplant in May 2021
  • Payton is part of The Cardiac Kids 518, an American Heart Association support group for families who have children born with the most common type of birth defect, a congenital heart defect.
  • According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 110 children are born with a heart defect

At just 4 months old, she received her first heart transplant. And in January of last year, Payton was back in hospital.

“When the nurses came, they said, ‘Payton, are you okay?’ Payton had a heart attack for eight minutes,” said DeLisa Archie, Payton’s grandmother. “I’m screaming for a doctor. By the time I got there they were doing compressions on him like a grown man.

Payton endured a series of heart attacks, kidney failure and four strokes which left her temporarily paralyzed. After spending months in the hospital, things finally changed.

Payton received his second heart transplant in May. His family calls him his “angel heart”.

“When she could speak, she said my heart belongs to you Mee-ma. And I said my heart belongs to you too. So to see her do this, I’m thrilled,” DeLisa Archie said.

She asked Payton, “when you get home, where do you want to go?” Payton said, ‘the studio, to see his dance teacher, who is also his godmother.'”

“The first time she came, I will never forget it. Because when she came back, she had trouble walking,” said Danielle Cuzdey, Payton’s dance teacher. “So when she came back and did hip hop for the first time, I ran out and picked up DeLisa and we just cried, because it was a miracle.”

With fitness and dance classes three times a week, Payton is finding his groove.