HAMPTON, V.A. (WAVY) — “Triston the Warrior” is home after spending months in a Virginia hospital.

At just 8 years old, Triston Lloyd had a heart attack on June 6. His dad, Eric Lloyd, said he was complaining of shoulder pain. His parents rushed him to the Sentara CarePlex Hospital in Hampton.

“God was just in control because all of the lights were green. It was about 8:30 at night, so there was no traffic, but the parking lot of the ER was packed. So, it could have gone so many other ways. We’re Christians, we do stand and believe in and on our faith. God had his hand on it from the start,” said his mom, Linda Lloyd. “By the time I made it to the hospital, he was unresponsive in the backseat. That escalated everything. I had to run inside to get help.”

Triston’s parents said that Triston has down syndrome and is high functioning.

“When he was one year and one day, he had open heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart. They believed it was too large for it to self-repair. So, in all of that time. He’s been a healthy, vibrant growing child.”

In fact, Triston was prepping to compete in the Special Olympics the same week.

“The week he took ill, that weekend was the Richmond Championships. He still became a warrior, and he just began fighting,” Linda said.

After about two hours at Sentara, he was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, but his condition worsened after four days. Triston was then rushed to the University of Virginia Children’s hospital.

“I get emotional sometimes when I think back to what it could have been and what he brought us [through],” Eric said. “At one point, I felt like, my emotions, I couldn’t show them because ‘I couldn’t do this, or I couldn’t do that’ because I needed to be there not just for him, not just for my wife, but our kids as well.”

Triston was added to the transplant list on June 15, and he was matched less than 48 hours later.

“This one hit a little different, it was different for multiple reasons because this is a new heart,” Eric said.

Triston’s family is thankful for the kindness of the nurse and doctors who had a part in saving his life. They are grateful for the prayers from friends and family. Triston’s teacher coordinated a welcome home parade on Saturday. The family says despite Hurricane Ian’s weather concerns, they had faith the weather would improve.

Now, the Lloyd family wants to meet the family who gave their child a second chance.

“I want them to meet him because they were willing to give the heart of their child that lost their life for him to have a new start,” Eric said. “I want to know who they are because the simple fact of the matter is. He is a part of their life.”

Linda journaled the entire journey with a logbook and stickers from his stay at UVA. She will share the book with Triston when he is older.

“Nothing short of a miracle, he is a walking testimony.”


Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled the family’s last name. WAVY regrets the error.