WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ)- For two months, a 14-year-old football player at Spring Valley High School has been fighting for his life after his body was attacked by a mysterious virus.
Wade Smith is being treated in Columbus, Ohio, two and a half hours away from home and friends.
The distance, as well as the mounting medical bills, have taken an emotional and financial toll on the family. It's why the Smiths' friends and community have been coming up with ways to help out.
Wednesday, a fundraiser at Highway 55 restaurant in Huntington brought in hundreds of dollars in donations. It was the same day Wade was having a life-saving surgery.
"I was sitting at work in my office when I got a text and it just said 'Nicole' in all caps," said family friend Nicole Anderson. "I knew what it meant which means, Wade got the heart."
The fundraiser was planned about a month ago. Wade's doctors didn't secure a heart and plans for surgery until Tuesday afternoon.
"To happen on the same day is amazing. It's crazy," Anderson said.
Anderson says the Smiths have been overwhelmed by the love and support they have gotten over the last couple months and seeing so many people care about them.
When word got out about Wednesday's fundraiser, Highway 55 owner Erin Downard says the response was incredible.
"We've getting the phone calls all day. 'What time do you start? Can we go ahead and come down? Can we do a to go order? What do we do?' People care, people love, and that's the best part to see."
Perhaps the even better part is the sign of hope and recovery for a young man still full of life ahead of him, getting a second chance to live.
"Somebody is working beyond us," Downard said. "That's the only way to be able to explain that. This is work beyond whatever we could have thought would happen."
During Wednesday night's fundraiser, Wade was undergoing surgery to get a new heart.
Family members say the surgery went well and he is recovering.