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