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Tulsa Five-Year-Old Waits For New Heart While Fighting Deadly Virus

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Riyley Beck. Riyley Beck.
Doctors eventually figured out Riyley had Coxsackie virus, which can show symptoms like fever, sore throat and nausea. Doctors eventually figured out Riyley had Coxsackie virus, which can show symptoms like fever, sore throat and nausea.
TULSA, Oklahoma - Riyley Beck is a five-year-old Tulsa boy who - just two months ago - was laughing and playing with his two brothers. Now Riyley is fighting for his life, after a common virus turned into a heart condition that often kills its victims. 

Riyley Beck's mom says he's a normal, a Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle-loving five-year-old, but sadly, there's something that sets him apart from most little kids because he is fighting for his life.

About two months ago, his parents said Riyley just wasn't himself. Aside from being diagnosed with strep, he started vomiting, getting chills and turning more pale every day.

"Take him to the doctor for a checkup, to see how he's doing, and he said he was severely dehydrated. So we're going to admit him to the hospital," said Phillip Beck, Riyley's dad. 

And Riyley got there and not a moment too soon. Just 30 minutes after arriving at Tulsa's St. Francis Children's hospital, Riyley started having seizures, stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest several times. 

Riyley's mom thought her baby was gone for good and he might have been, if he had crashed anywhere other than a hospital. 

"It's amazing that he was here and the doctors were in the room and there was no time lapse, between him breathing and them working on him," said Sarah Beck, Riyley's mom.

After staying at the hospital for a month, Riyley spent the last several weeks in St. Louis, where he'll wait for a heart transplant. Riyley's conditions, doctors say can happen to any child. 

They eventually figured out Riyley had Coxsackie virus, which can show symptoms like fever, sore throat and nausea. The virus infected and enlarged his heart, a potentially deadly condition called Myocarditis. Medical research shows common viruses, like those that cause rashes, pinkeye and mono, can all lead to Myocarditis and the victims can die with almost no warning.

And as Riyley continues fighting for his life, the Becks have learned a valuable lesson that they want to pass along to other parents. 

"I thought it was a stomach virus, that's what I thought it was at first and I just went with my gut instincts to just...take him to the doctor. Just get him checked out. So if you feel like you need to take them, take them," said Phillip Beck. 

A couple weeks ago, Riyley was officially accepted on a heart transplant list. His family gives almost daily updates on his Facebook page.

They've also set up a funding website to help with Riyley's medical expenses.

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