Story by: Eleanor Westenhofer on June 20, 2019
Hey there! My name is Eleanor and I’m 8 years old. I love drawing and art. I also really like to play with Legos with my little sister. I’m in the second grade, and the classes that I enjoy the most are science and reading. Pasta is my most favorite food. I have a lot of things that make me special, including that when I was a baby I had a heart transplant.
I was born with many heart defects, and so at 10 days old, the doctors told my parents that my only option was a heart transplant. We waited for two months for my new heart, which I received at Norton Children’s Hospital. I’m so lucky that a donor’s family said yes to organ donation. They saved my life! I’ve stayed healthy since my transplant, and I’m living life to the fullest!
Eleanor and her family will be documenting their advocacy for kids’ health on the Norton Children’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. #speaknowforkids
I’m super excited because I get to share my story with Congress in Washington, D.C., for Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day. I, along with kids like me from around the country, will meet with our country’s leaders so that when they make decisions, they always remember that kids’ health is important. My family and I, along with some people from Norton Children’s Hospital, will meet with Senator Mitch McConnell, and Representative John Yarmuth. I want to tell them how important organ donation is, because I wouldn’t be here without one.
But my trip won’t just be about business. I’ve never been to Washington before and look forward to seeing the sites like the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and some museums. It’s a good thing I now have a strong heart, because that’s a lot to do in just a couple days!
I’m super excited for this trip with my family and very thankful to Norton Children’s Hospital for organizing this trip. Next stop, D.C.!
Eleanor Westenhofer is participating at the 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day, June 25 and 26 in Washington, D.C. During the event, Eleanor and her family will talk with members of Congress about her experience with a heart transplant and the importance of children’s health care.