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Seven-year-old walks for first time since rare surgery

Published On: Jan 01 2014 03:19:16 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 31 2013 11:00:00 PM CST

Weston Keeton, the 7-year-old boy from Kingsport who underwent a rare heart and double lung transplant on December 12th in Philadelphia, is on the move for the first time in weeks.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

Weston Keeton, the 7-year-old boy from Kingsport who underwent a rare heart and double lung transplant on December 12 in Philadelphia, is on the move for the first time in weeks.

Weston has been a fighter since birth. He battles a rare disease and needed two new lungs and a new heart to survive.

After waiting two years, the call came on December 11 to let Weston's family know that organs were available. He had surgery on December 12.

The Kingsport boy has been at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for the better part of two years, and he could be there six more months while recovering from surgery.

Weston's mother, Julie Keeton, says he is dealing with some slight organ rejection, so doctors are giving him plasma every other day for the next two weeks. After that, the physicians will decide how often Weston needs plasma -- which removes antibodies that can cause organ rejection.

"He just got his breathing tube out," said Julie Keeton. "He had kind of a rough week last week, so he had his breathing tube put back in to give his body a little bit more time to heal."

Weston's big brother Easton has been able to listen to Weston's new heart and lungs for the first time. "The first thing he said is, 'Mommy, I don't hear clicking,'" said Julie. "But you could hear heart sounds and hear him breathing."

With a new heart and lungs, Weston took his first steps since the surgery on New Year's Day, but he has bigger plans. "Hopefully he'll get to ride his tricycle," said Julie. "He was asking where it was. Since we've been wanting a transplant, his tricycle has been in the bathroom and we had to take it and put it in the car. As soon as he's ready to ride again, which will hopefully be next week."

For Christmas, Weston wanted ornaments to put him in a festive mood; the community answered the call, lifting his spirits by sending in decorations. Those decorations are now back up in his room for the first time since surgery.

For now, Weston can only have visits from close family members to protect his immune system. He may be able to go to public places in June or July.

You can send mail to Weston or donate to help with medical and living expenses. The address is: 

Weston Keeton
c/o Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
6th CICU
3401 Civic Center Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

For more information, or to donate online, click on this link.