8-year-old heart transplant recipient speaks on Capitol Hill

Eleanor Westenhofer, an 8-year-old heart transplant patient, led a delegation to Washington. Eleanor, along with a team from Norton Children’s Hospital, met with lawmakers to make sure they keep sick kids in mind as they work on health care legislation. She took part in Speak Now for Kids 2019 Family Advocacy Day. Eleanor shared this about her trip:


Washington, D.C., is a big city full of lots of important people. This past week I got to visit with some of those important people and share my story! I had never been to D.C. before, so I was super excited to fly there and to see all the famous places.

We started off the first day super early, and I got to meet lots of other kids like me. They had also come from across the country to share their stories, just like me, for Family Advocacy Day! I met a lot of cool new friends!

Afterwards we took a tour to see the city. We took LOTS of pictures. We visited a bunch of the famous monuments and places like the White House! I got to see the Lincoln and MLK Memorials; they had giant statues! It was the BEST DAY EVER!

Check out what Eleanor did during her trip to Washington

More about Eleanor and her family’s trip to advocate for kids’ health can be found on the Norton Children’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. #speaknowforkids

On the third day of the trip, I had to get dressed up because we got a special tour of the Capitol building. I felt like a VIP! My family and I then got to go meet U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and told him all about how Norton Children’s has helped me, and that organ donation saved my life. He really listened to me and made me feel special.

Later in the day I got to meet Rep. John Yarmuth. He also listened to my family tell my story and share how important my new heart was to me and to them.

I got to eat tons of yummy food while on the trip, including some ice cream. That was my favorite! We went to SO many places in just few days, but I had lots of fun. My family and I got to meet a lot of people and visit a lot of cool places together.

I’m so glad that Norton Children’s Hospital chose me to be the one to share my story in Washington, D.C.! I hope what I said sticks with the government officials when they go to vote on kids’ health care in Kentucky!