First-grader's perseverance inspires outpouring of donations



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GREENFIELD — When Brandon Wood first looked at the website tracking his students’ fundraising efforts, he thought he was seeing a mistake.

But there it was, alongside first-grader Trenton Beaver’s name – donations to the American Heart Association totaling nearly $1,000.

For the J.B. Stephens physical education teacher, that number came as a big surprise.

In recognition of February as American Heart Month, Wood had dedicated time in gym class to promoting heart-healthy activities and encouraging students to raise money to support the Heart Association, and as the initiative drew to a close, one student stood out among the rest. Trenton, 7, brought in more than $1,100, almost half the entire school’s total.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Wood said. “I’ve never had anybody get close to that.”

And it was all because Trenton had more than a flier to present to friends and family; he had a story.

Trenton was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a congenital disorder that prohibits the left side of the heart from developing properly.

He’s had three open-heart surgeries to address the problem, the first at just 3 weeks old. He went under the knife again when he was 5 months old and a third time when he was 2. One day, he’ll likely be on the list for a heart transplant.

But watching Trenton bounce around the living room of his Greenfield home on a recent afternoon, clad in a Peyton Manning jersey – a nod to his favorite player – you’d never know the boy had spent much of his early life in the hospital.

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