Easter egg hunt ben­e­fits S-year-old in need of heart, dou­ble lung trans­plant

North Penn Life - - Accent - Jcon­nor@jour­nalregis­ter.com

By Jen­nifer Connor

Last Easter things were much dif­fer­ent for We­ston hee­ton, a 6-year-old await­ing a heart and dou­ble lung trans­plant.

Last year, We­ston’s mother, Julie, hid Easter eggs around the car­diac unit at Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal of Philadel­phia, where he was be­ing treated, so he could still par­tic­i­pate in the hol­i­day.

This year, sur­rounded by his six other sib­lings, We­ston took off in an Easter egg hunt on an in­door WuUI fiHOG DW BuFNs0RnW ,ndoor Sports Cen­ter in Hat­fiHOG DPLG D FURwG RI 5- WR 7-year-olds.

The Easter egg hunt and ac­com­pa­ny­ing car­ni­val benH­fiWLnJ :HsWRn DnG KLs IDPLOy March 23 brought out nearly 600 at­ten­dees through­out the four-hour event, ac­cord­ing to event or­ga­niz­ers.

“For him to be well enough to run with all the other kids is so thrilling,” Julie said.

lrig­i­nally from east Ten­nessee, the hee­tons have been split be­tween their home­town and Philadel­phia since June 2011 when We­ston was ad­mit­ted to CHlP, where doc­tors told the fam­ily he needed a heart and dou­ble lung trans­plant. Through­out the year, Julie lives in an apart­ment in Philadel­phia with We­ston’s baby sis­ter, El­lie, who was born in Penn­syl­va­nia, and his el­dest brother, Eas­ton.

“It’s just amaz­ing that all th­ese strangers came out be­cause of We­ston and that they want to help him and our fam­ily,” Julie said.

The hee­ton fam­ily, with no ties to the Philadel­phia area, has felt the gen­eros­ity of the lo­cal com­mu­nity in numer­ous ways.

Even the land­lord of the apart­ment they rent heard their story and helped them out by charg­ing re­duced rent.

“lur land­lord is a liv­ing or­gan donor, who was go­ing to give his mother an or­gan,” Julie said. At the last minute, an or­gan be­came avail­able so the land­lord didn’t need to give his.

“He heard our story and worked it out so that we could live there — in a safe neigh­bor­hood of Philadel­phia,” Julie said.

For the past two weeks, We­ston was able to go home IRU WwR wHHNs IRU WKH fiUsW time since his orig­i­nal hos­pi­tal­iza­tion.

Now, he just goes to CHlP for weekly check­ups, wKLOH KLs PRWKHU fixHs KLs dressings and gives him his med­i­ca­tions.

“He takes nearly 60 pills a day and it doesn’t even phase him!” Julie said.

We­ston, show­ing off a bas­ket full of plas­tic Easter eggs fiOOHG wLWK FDnGy 0DUFK 23, found his fa­vorite candy, a Red Hot, and plopped it in his mouth.

“I’m glad all th­ese nice peo­ple came out to­day,” he said. “I couldn’t even count them!”

We­ston said he tried count­ing, but all the kids were run­ning around. He guessed around 150 chil­dren joined him in his age group’s Easter egg hunt.

Af­ter en­joy­ing his candy with his brothers and sis­ters, the fam­ily went to the car­ni­val part of the fes­tiv­i­ties where Spi­der­man, We­ston’s fa­vorite su­per­hero, picked up We­ston and taught him how to shoot spi­der­webs.

Hil­lary McCart­ney, of Lans­dale, brought her two daugh­ters, aged 2 and 4, to the event af­ter hear­ing about it at the North Penn rn­der Ten Sum­mer Expo.

“It’s won­der­ful that this event is in­doors,” McCart­ney said. “We had a great time and it’s for a great cause.”

If you weren’t able to make it to the event, you can do­nate to We­ston at www. co­taforwe­stonk.com.

We­ston Kee­ton, left, his brother Eas­ton, right, and chil­dren ages 5 to 7 check out the bounty from their eggs.

Chil­dren ages 5 to 7 race for eggs.

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