The Real Life Miracle On 34th Street
You've most likely seen the movie, Miracle on 34th Street. You'll probably see it sometime in the coming weeks. A heart-warming movie, reminding us all of the miracles we experienced as children, especially around Christmas time. It takes you back to that time of innocence, before you grew up and the real world showed you how ugly it can be. As adults, we all hope and pray for a miracle, but it seems very few get to experience one. Believe me, miracles happen! I see one everyday of my life when I look at my son. A real life "miracle on 34th street" took place, and it happened on 34th St in Philadelphia, PA.
This moving story is about the Keeton family, and 1 of their 7 children, Weston Keeton. Weston has spent the majority of the past 3 years of his life at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, fighting heart disease and pulmonary hypertension most of his life. In order for Weston to live to see another birthday, he needed a heart and double lung transplant.
The entire ordeal had been very rough on the Keeton family. The father, Adam, stayed in Tennessee so he could work. While mom, Julie, and their 6 other children, relocated to Philadelphia. The family was displaced, and in despair.
While reading the story, I hoped for a happy ending, that Weston would received the organs he needed to live. Yet, a reality sank in... The reality that in order for Weston to live, another child must die. That thought had never really occurred to me in the past, but it is the truth. In order for Weston to receive the organs needed for his heart and double lung transplant, another child had to die. That struck me deep in my heart as I thought of my own child.
Anything I could say about the rest of Weston's story has already been said by someone much wiser than I am, so I'm going to quote the story off Hugginton Post.
"Around midnight of December 12 Weston's parents were told CHOP had found the perfect donor, and that if all went well, their son's transplants would take place a little after sunrise. As doctors and nurses started to execute a plan they'd been preparing for years, Julie did what she had been doing for all along: she prayed while rubbing her son's back through the wires that kept him alive as he tried to sleep.
She not only prayed for what was to happen to her son, but for the donor family. The family that was now forced to make funeral plans instead of Christmas plans. The family that would be forced to write an obituary instead of a letter to Santa. As a mother who had planned out and prepared herself for her own son's funeral in case the call of the transplant never came, her heart ached. Every time someone came in to wish her well that morning, she asked them to pray for the donor family. Pray for the family that will be responsible for putting her family back together. For the family that will give her son the ultimate Christmas gift: a chance to grow up. Throughout the morning, the calls kept coming, from the announcement that the recovery was successful to when they found out that the ultimate Christmas presents had finally made it to the hospital. The CCICU was filled with love, nerves and prayers that night, as we all knew a miracle on 34th street was unraveling in front of our eyes.
For a seven-year-old about to face a surgery he had been prepped almost half of his life for, he was the picture of brave. Not a tear rolled down his cheek as nurses bathed his little body, added even more wires to his bed, and rolled him down the winding hallways of the 6th floor at CHOP. All he wanted was to be promised that he could drink lots of water after surgery. Doctors and nurses who struggled to keep him alive the past few years were reveling in the joy of watching the events unfold. "It's your turn Weston, today it is your turn to get your new heart and lungs one of the many brilliant members of medical team kept reassuring him. As they turned the corner to operating room, we all looked at each other knowing there was no turning back. It was truly in a higher power's hands.
Almost a little over 12 hours from when the life-changing phone calls began to transpire, Weston was out of surgery. His new heart was beating strong and his new lungs had gone in smoothly. He had gone through his transplants without a hitch, something that no one had anticipated from such a sick little boy. For the first time in his life, his parents are watching his chest move up and down at a normal pace. No longer is he struggling to breathe, no longer is an oxygen mask covering his little face.
The road to Weston's recovery begins as his body learns to work with his new organs. During this road of recovery, every family member and friend who prayed for Weston's miracle of life will continue to pray for the donor family. We will pray that they will be able to find solace in the fact that their consent to organ donation allowed their child's legacy to continue to touch the world -- not only through them but through their child's recipients, for one organ donor can save the lives of eight people. We hope that people will become registered organ donors so that one day, once their time is finished on this Earth, they can give the gift of life."
If you believe in miracles, pass this one along...