When you suffer from a rare heart disease you tend to think about the little things in life and make the most of what time you have left.
A child from Illinois tried to make the best out of his life as much as he could, while commuting from his home to a nearby hospital. Luckily for him, he was about to receive the greatest news of his lifetime from a hero that he grew to respect.
Click ‘Next’ to find out more about this heartwarming story that changed a young life!
Austin Eggleston is a 15 year old kid that lives in Pontiac Illinois. He goes to St. Mary’s Catholic School and like any other kid, he likes to play games and to listen to music. However, Austin is a bit limited to games due to a congenital heart defect, which affects his way of life.
But Austin is a fighter, and always knew how to lead and how to make a name of himself.
Click ‘Next’ to find out more about fascinating his daily habits.
A Charming President
His heart condition restrained his growth, but Austin couldn’t care less about that. He focused on his wits and personality, and with this, he charmed the minds of the people around him. Austin managed to become Class President and his fellow colleagues showed him the respect that he was meant to receive.
Even in his darkest time, his colleagues managed to do a 20-minute assembly featuring music, jokes and prayers, which meant the world to him.
Click ‘Next’ to see where he had to live for more than 4 months!
His Home Away From Home
His heart condition was worse than expected and Austin had to take a 4-month break to recover and to wait for a miracle. He spent those months at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where friendly staff became his family and fellow patients became his friends.
Austin was there waiting for a transplant that may bring him on the right path again and allow him to live a normal life. Why was his condition so bad?
Click ‘Next’ to read more about the condition that Austin struggles with!
The Congenital Heart Defect
The difficult condition that Austin put up with for more than a decade, is called congenital heart defect. This is a malformation of either the aorta, the heart or any large blood vessel that takes place during or before childbirth.
The condition can be quite terrifying as years go by, since it can lead to, learning difficulties, delays in physical developments, or even heart failure. Austin however kept his head up no matter how terrible his condition was.
Click ‘Next’ to see how his time in the Hospital went by!
He Spent Important Events In The Hospital
During these 4 months Austin missed a lot of important events. Birthdays, Holidays or Name days went by as Austin was looking out from his window at everyone that hugged and smiled to their loved ones as they were released from care.
Austin knew that he couldn’t experience the same relief anytime soon, since he had to wait longer than anyone else for the most important news that he was about to receive.
So how did Austin survive in the Hospital? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
Hooked On Machines
Austin’s condition got a bit worse so he had to rely on machines to aid him. Those machines monitored his condition and allowed his heart to function normally, as the doctors looked into ways to make the child feel better.
There was a particular thing that Austin liked, so from time to time the doctors allowed him to watch his favorite shows and movies in the main lounge.
You won’t believe the types of movies that Austin watched! Click ‘Next’ to learn more!
Watching Star Wars
Austin liked Star Wars since he first saw it on the big screen. He loved all Episodes no matter how old or new they were, and whenever the doctors said yes, he played them all on the TV screen in the Hospital’s lounge.
But besides that, Austin was a fan of Marvel movies as well. He enjoyed watching his favorite super heroes and this gave him hope that someday he will see them in real life.
Click ‘Next’ to see how people around him reacted when they heard about this condition!
People Were Worried
Austin was added to the heart transplant list by his doctor Phillip Thursh, since his condition was raising concerns. He cared for the boy and wanted him to have a normal life, knowing that Congenital Heart Disease is something that you cannot live with for a long period of time.
The Doctor was aware that his condition may lead to different types of problems, so he had to act soon. He knew however that donors are not likely to turn up.
Click ‘Next’ to see why he was so concerned!
Congenital Heart Disease is more complicated that we can ever imagine. More than 40,000 newborns are affected every year due to it, and their survival rate is quite low. If doctors do not intervene in the first 28 days from their birth, the infants will not live another day.
However, problems can also occur during their lifetime as we learned earlier. Infections, viruses, lung diseases, blood clots and cardiac deaths are just a few that develop during a child’s life.
Click ‘Next’ to see how a child survives in this conditions!
4 Months Of Struggle
The Hospital was doing its best but Austin struggled during this time. Often he was hooked to respiratory aid machines that soothed his chest pain and allowed him to sleep better.
A Hospital was no place for a boy but at this point, his mother couldn’t risk taking him home. I am sure that his colleagues visited him from time to time, but in the end, he had to fend for himself.
So what did Austin do to befriend people? Click ‘Next’ to see for yourself!
Austin’s sweet and charming personality allowed him to get close to both the staff members, and the patients on his floor. It was shortly after that he was proclaimed Mayor of his floor, and he started to share his diplomatic skills with anyone that needed his help.
From President to Mayor, Austin was making a true name of himself, and the doctors couldn’t wait to find the appropriate heart for him to use. He didn’t have to wait long.
Click ‘Next’ to see what followed up after months of suffering!
A Time Of Hope
Dr. Thursh received wonderful news on the 17th of March and he was ready to inform Austin about his discovery. He did however want to give the news in a unique way that was promised to Austin a long time ago.
The Doctor knew about his fascination with Star Wars, so he told the boy that news will be delivered by a character from the Star Wars universe. And why not? The boy was a member of the family now.
Click ‘Next’ to see why the boy grew on them!
One Of Their Own
Austin was a 15-year-old boy that started off as Class President and became mayor of his Hospital floor. He got involved in diverse Hospital activities and everyone knew the boy from St. Mary’s Catholic School and wished him the best.
They were expecting him to spend a longer time with them since heart donors are rare to find, so in the end he became part of their family. Austin also sent out messages through social media to keep people updated on his condition.
Click ‘Next’ to see what he wrote!
Social Media Activity
Austin wanted to offer his support to the Hospital in any way he could. He decided to send messages to Marvel and other companies that may show screenings of their Movie to all children who couldn’t see the premier on the big Cinema Screens.
It was a great initiative that got a lot of attention from his friends and followers. This was a message to inform people that he was willing to see the movie no matter what!
So how did his mom react to this? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
His Mom Was Thrilled
When Austin’s mom Anglin found out about the donor she was ecstatic. She couldn’t thank them enough for their consideration, knowing that the parents that donated the heart, were suffering through a hard loss of their own.
She specified in the interview that “we’ll make sure that he does remarkable things because of it.” And I am sure that Austin was ready to start a new adventure.
You have to click ‘Next’ to see how everyone prepared to deliver the wonderful news!
Delivered From A Galaxy Far, Far, Away
Dr. Thursh was ready to deliver the wonderful news to Austin. He remembered about the Movies that he loved, and as a Star Wars enthusiast himself, he decided to deliver the news in a Wookie voice, which he developed throughout his adolescent years.
And a Wookie voice needed a Wookie costume, so the doctor got everything ready to bring a smile on Austin’s face. But how did Austin react?
Click ‘Next’ to see Austin’s reaction when Dr. Thursh showed up in a Wookie costume!
He Was Prepared To Receive Them
After a regular Check-Up Austin noticed that something was going on that seemed out of the ordinary. Everyone was acting odd and they had a smile on their face that he hasn’t seen before. It wasn’t long before he saw it.
A familiar face, from a universe that he loved, was standing beyond the door ready to deliver the news of his lifetime. It didn’t take him long to guess what it was.
Click ‘Next’ to see what Austin did when he saw Chewbacca!
In Comes Chewbacca
Talking Wookie and standing in the doorstep, was the hero that Austin needed to save him from his suffering. As his hero walked towards him, Austin realized that that was it. He specified numerous times that he finally got it and that started to get him more and more excited.
Austin was amused by the Wookie voice and burst into laughter. But the laughter would become tears of joy and that’s what everyone expected.
Click ‘Next’ to see how he jumped in joy!
But He Saw Straight Through Him
His nurse looked quietly as things developed in front of him. He was thrilled for the boy and couldn’t wait to see his reaction. Austin said “We got it? We got the heart!?” and as the Wookie came closer he jumped up in joy. And why wouldn’t he?
Through the words of a Wookie, he was given the chance to start a new life. “Holly Balls!” was the last words that he said before he got up from his bed.
And he didn’t stop there! Click ‘Next’ to find out more!
A Joyful Day!
After months of waiting he was jumping in joy and high-fiving his hero. Finally he could re-think his options and look forward to his future. The Wookie responded to his high-fives and was as excited as he was.
A galaxy far-far away united them into something unique and the change was about to happen. The force moved in mysterious ways and the New Hope was opening in front on them.
Click ‘Next’ to see what Austin told his Doctor when he found out that he was the Wookie!
A Warm Hug
Austin hugged the Wookie and continued his excitement in front of everyone. No more hospital bills, no more machines to keep him alive, he was just about to give up his tittle of Mayor of the 8th floor and move on towards a prosperous life.
You wouldn’t want to live all your life in hospitals waiting for your death, so when someone gives you the news of living, you cannot help but take them.
Click ‘Next’ to see what followed after the amazing news!
The Hero Reveled Himself
The doctor finally showed his face and they were both captivated of the situation. They knew that this was just the beginning and now they had to face the hardship of the surgery. However, their minds were relieved that a heart donor was found and they couldn’t think about anything else.
The Wookie skills paid off and the news were delivered. So what did the doctor expect next and how did he feel about everything?
Click ‘Next’ to see the doctor’s opinion!
After the doctor prepared the news he also had to set a date for the surgery. He thought that the 20th of March would be suitable since the boy already waited more than he could ever want.
He was relieved that the kid that “even when he’s sick, brings a smile to your face” will get the heart that he deserves. So after months of waiting the day finally came.
Click ‘Next’ to see how the difficult surgery went!
Taken To Surgery
The doctor took Austin to surgery as his mom waited for the skilled people to do their job. She knew that what was worse has finally passed and in a few hours her little boy will be with her again, fully capable and powerful enough to start a new life.
She knew that he will become a man that will bring greatness to the world. Who knows maybe Austin is just starting to become a hero that this world needs.
Click ‘Next’ to see how the surgery went!
Giving The Thumbs Up
The surgery was nothing compared to a life of suffering and hospital visits. Everything went great and Doctor Philip Thursh did an amazing job. Austin’s transplant was a success and he couldn’t wait to get out and start his new life.
His mother was grateful and couldn’t wait to take her son home. They did however have to run the appropriate tests and double check if his life sings were stable.
Click ‘Next’ to see how long it took him to recover!
His Life Signs Were Stable
The machines that once kept Austin alive were reveling the information that everyone was looking forward to. His heart was beating accordingly and no complications were detected. He was however kept for two more weeks inside the hospital just to make sure that he won’t encounter any problems after his surgery.
But the doctors were hopeful and they knew that his surgery went well, he just had to do a few recovery exercises just to get use to his new heart.
Click ‘Next’ to see what Austin did after his recovery!
Austin went through two weeks of recovery exercises. He focused more on cardio but laughter was the only medicine that kept him going. His family was thrilled that he was coming home and his classmates couldn’t wait to sing a welcome back song to their president.
His story is truly a wonderful one and I am happy that Austin managed to pull through. But what is Austin doing now?
You won’t believe what became of him! Click ‘Next’ to find out more!
He Resumed His Childhood
You would expect Austin to resume his childhood and attempt to play the games that he couldn’t play in the past. But Austin had a lot more in plan, and along with his parents and doctor, they went on a cross-country tour where they had to give out speeches to schools and institutes that cared about their people.
Austin spread awareness about heart problems that were serious and needed everyone’s attention.
Click ‘Next’ to see who else wanted to talk about his story!
Talking On Radios And TV Shows
Schools and institutes were just a start for Austin. His story went viral and soon enough, ABC, CNN, and other major networks and radios wanted a piece of his mind.
Austin was invited to shows, talks and public events where he spread awareness about the concerning heart issues that people can face during their lifetime. I am sure that his words will encourage people to become donors in case something bad happens to them.
So what have we learned from his story? Click ‘Next’ to see hot it ends!
The Force Was Strong In Him
Austin was a fighter and in the end his sprit managed to survive a challenging event. He will continue to go on talk shows and inform people how important it is to be an organ donor, since even they can go through important events, and have to wait a long time until something good will happen to them.
The force was indeed strong in him, and he will continue to inspire.