It doesn’t even matter that Austin Eggleston doesn’t speak Wookie: The moment Chewbacca strolled into his room, he knew exactly what it meant.
Austin, a 15-year-old from Pontiac, Illinois, was born with several congenital heart defects that stunted his growth. When he stopped responding to treatments last fall, his name was put on a heart transplant list.
In November, staff and students at St. Mary’s School, where he’s the eighth-grade president, sent Austin off with a pep rally to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago to prepare for the surgery.
Every single day for the next two months, the die-hard Star Wars fan asked medical staff whether a donor had been found yet.
His doctor, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Phillip Thrush, was so certain he’d get a heart that he made Austin a promise: As soon as a heart donor was found, Dr. Thrush himself would deliver the news in person — dressed as Chewbacca.
On Saturday, he was able to fulfill that promise.
“We got a heart? Do we seriously have a heart?” Austin asks, leaping from his bed and literally bouncing with joy.
“He’s the type of kid that, even when he’s sick, he brings a smile to your face,” Dr. Thrush said.
The transplant was completed later that night, and Austin is now on the road to recovery.
His mom, Mary Anglin, expressed gratitude to the donor’s family, saying the new heart will provide him a chance to accomplish his life’s goals and that Austin “will make sure that he does remarkable things because of it.”
Watch Austin’s reaction to the life-saving news in the clip below.
Share to send congratulations and spread the word about the need for organ donors.
That moment when Chewbacca aka Dr. Thrush comes to tell you that you are getting a new heart. Months ago when Austin was listed for a heart transplant, Dr. Thrush said he would deliver the news a heart was available dressed as Chewbacca. On Saturday, March 17, Chewbacca stopped by Austin’s room. #donatelife #organdonor #all4your1Are you an organ donor? Register to become one here https://www.ilsos.gov/organdonorregister/.
Posted by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago on Monday, March 19, 2018
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