Twelve-year-old Codi Pelton has a special gift. She can connect with just about anyone. Whether it’s an autistic classmate who spends a lot of time alone because he fears loud noises.
"He would always say let’s go down the slide, so we would go down the slide as many times as he wanted and he would have so much fun," says Codi with a proud smile, adding she also has a special friendship with a child doesn’t have full use of his legs, " He’s just a really sweet boy, whenever he saw me he’d always gave me a big hug because he knew that I was there for him."
You see she understands what it’s like to have limitations.
"Codi has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, it’s where the left side of the heart does not fully develop, so she doesn’t get the adequate amount of oxygen into her lungs," says Lisa, her mom.
"I can wake up and I’m still super duper tired … I have to wear oxygen … I still can’t run around it makes me get really bad dizzy spells," says Codi.
But Lisa says that doesn’t stop her from seeing the best in others and making sure they see it too, "She just has a big heart like that she wants to take care of everybody."
Their journey has not been easy.
"Scared because you don’t know what’s going to happen," says Lisa through tears as she remembers doctors telling her about Codi’s heart condition on the day she was born before transporting her to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
But they feel blessed says Codi’s dad Brandon, because they don’t take what really matters for granted and live life the way Codi has taught the, "Tomorrow’s never given so when you wake up and you try and be the best you can and do the best you can."
Codi was recently moved up on the heart transplant list.
Brandon says that means a new heart can come at any time, "This is a big unknown for us I mean the phone can ring right now and away we go."
But Lisa, is also mindful it also means loss for another family, "When that day comes I really hope … for them to be a part of our family because they gave a very special piece of their child for ours."
But maybe that family will find comfort in knowing Codi will use every breath to love without limit.