A Tyrone Township teen who underwent a heart transplant has returned home in record time.

13-year-old Aiden Saunders underwent a heart transplant March 15th at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Aiden, a competitive swimmer with the Hartland Hurricane swim team was admitted after doctors discovered he had severe congestive heart failure, with his heart only functioning around 18%. Within days of being placed on the transplant list, a heart became available and the twelve-hour surgery was performed, with almost instantaneous excellent results.

On Tuesday, Aiden was discharged and allowed to return home (pictured here with his three sisters) to the Lake Shannon community in Tyrone Township, where he was greeted by neighbors bearing signs and balloons. Aiden’s father, Bill Saunders, said his son has continued to exceed all expectations and was discharged only 11 days after the transplant, while two weeks is typically the minimum. He says the next three months will be the most critical for Aiden’s recovery, since he'll be on the highest immune suppression regimen to help ensure he doesn't reject his new heart.

Saunders says there will be many trips to the hospital over the coming months for biopsies and evaluations, but they continue to have faith that Aiden will continue his path to a full recovery. In fact, he expected that after about three months, Aiden will be able to return to the water, and is looking forward to skiing, wakeboarding, and swimming with his swim team.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser to assist the family with medical expenses is set for next month. The 5K run/walk/bike fundraiser will be held at Lake Shannon on April 28th. A link and registration information is available through the link below. (JK)