Sixteen-year-old Samantha Moore says she was so tired that she could hardly walk from room to room at school. At first she just thought she was out of shape.
In August, a doctor would explain it was a lot more serious than that. Sam was diagnosed with a rare heart muscle disease.
"I was scared because I didn't know what was going to happen," said Sam.
Dr. Shelley Miyamoto has been caring for Sam at Children's Hospital in Denver.
"It's very rare," she said. "Literally, one in a million children has the diagnosis of restricted cardio myopathy. It is extremely rare."
Sam Moore was put on a list to wait for a heart transplant. It was her only chance to survive long term. The three week wait was awful.
"I was scared for them to call because I didn't know what to expect but I was scared they wouldn't call," she said. "I knew I would die without the transplant."
On April 4, Sam got a new heart.
It should have been the end of a terrifying ordeal for her family, but their challenges are far from over.
This heart condition can run in a family. All three Moore kids were screened, just in case. Doctors were surprised to learn that all three children in the Moore family suffered from the same condition. Sam's 14-year-old brother, Gary, and 10-year-old sister, Brandi, need heart transplants too.
"I was numb when I first heard," said Refugia Moore, the children's grandmother and guardian. "I couldn't breathe. It didn't register in my mind. I couldn't think. I was so scared."
Dr. Miyamoto said everyone was stunned.
"They probably would have had a better chance of winning of the lottery than they would have had this happen to the family," said Miyamoto.
Samantha says she wants to be a support for her siblings when they go through their surgeries.
"I know it's right I go first, but there is part of me that feels like it's not fair," said Samantha. "I had to go through everything not knowing what to expect and that was scary for me. I know it's right though because I am older and now I can help them when it's their turn."
Refugia Moore says seeing Sam's recovery has made the future less scary for Brandi and Gary.
"They see that she is OK. She didn't die. That encourages them that they can make it too," said Refugia.
Ten-year-old Brandi said, "It is scary but I see that she went through all of it and nothing really happened that was that bad. I still have a lot of questions I want to ask her."
"I have great faith that Samantha will do very well and that she will be a great role model for her siblings," said Miyamoto.
Sam says she does not take the opportunity to be an example for granted.
"I am really thankful because if it wasn't for those people who donated I probably wouldn't be here today," said Sam. "Donors are life savers to us. I couldn't thank that family enough."
Donor Alliance says that as of July 2 there are 1,760 people on the wait list for a lifesaving transplant in Colorado. Thirty-one children in Colorado under the age of 18 are on the wait list.
In the United States 100,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving transplant.
A single donor can save up to eight lives. Organs that can be donated are: heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and small intestine.
A single tissue donor can enhance up to 100 lives.
You can register to be an organ and tissue donor by signing up when you renew your driver's license or you can sign-up online at www.ColoradoDonorRegistry.org or call (888)-256-4386.
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