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Utah girl fights for life at 12 years old
June 10, 2011

ST. GEORGE -- A 12-year-old girl fights for her life after collapsing at school.

Abby Doman used to spend most of her days playing soccer and hanging out with her friends. But on May 18, Abby collapsed during gym class at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School in St. George -- a day that would change her life forever.

"We were running our warm-ups in P.E. and I just collapsed," Abby described.

Abby's mother Michelle soon received a call that no parent ever wants to receive: "My phone rang and it was the principal from the school and she said, ‘Michelle, Abby collapsed in P.E. We have her in an ambulance right now. They're shocking her heart right now. Get to the Emergency Room.' "

Abby needed nearly eight minutes of CPR before paramedics arrived and shocked her heart. She was later flown to Primary Children's Medical Center, where doctor's diagnosed Abby with restrictive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

"When they did the x-ray in the emergency room in St. George, they said her heart was two and a half times the normal size," Michelle Doman said. "The walls are too thick in her heart so the blood doesn't flow through it like it's supposed to."

The only treatment available to Abby was a heart transplant.

"It's pretty scary. I don't think the realization has hit me yet, but I think it will and I'll just kind of break down," Abby said.

For two weeks, Abby stayed in the hospital undergoing what were often painful tests. But one day Paul Cardall, the LDS musician, paid Abby a visit to lift her spirits. Cardall knew the pain Abby was going through, receiving a heart transplant himself in Sept. 2009.

"He just said, ‘stay positive, don't doubt yourself, go with it and try and make everything as happy as can be,' " Abby said. "I just go with it. I'm trying to be positive and I'm trying to be happy and everything's good."

Michelle said she's grateful to have found a home near the hospital while the family waits for Abby's new heart. She's also grateful for her community of friends in St. George, but is most grateful for Abby being alive.

"Any time I start feeling sorry for ourselves," Michelle said, "then I remember she's still here and we need to be grateful; grateful for the time we do have because it's extra time."

On Saturday, several locations in St. George will hold fundraising efforts to help the Doman family pay for Abby's medical expenses.