Boy fighting for his life seeks Valentines

(Photo supplied/Riley Children's Foundation)

INDIANAPOLIS, In: (WOWO) An Indiana boy is fighting for his life, but the messages he’s received from thousands of people around the world are keeping a big smile on his face.

William Sidebottom’s heart transplant is failing him. He was admitted to Riley Hospital for Children last week, the day before his 10th birthday.

His parents say his new request is a welcome distraction for likely the months of waiting ahead.Two months ago, doctors at a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina told William and his parents there was nothing they could do.“They told us to take him home, give him a good Christmas,” said Jay.

William got his heart transplant three years ago. A routine procedure last summer discovered problems and doctors had to put in a stent.“How do you console a 9-year-old that finds out they’re not going to be alive much longer?” asked Jay Lowery, William’s stepfather.

For William and his parents Jay and Jennifer Lowery, the most effective method seems to be getting Christmas cards. A family friend put out the request when William was taken to a hospital in North Carolina around the holidays. Strangers all over the world responded.

“Overnight we were getting millions of cards,” said Jennifer Lowery.

Now, the family continues to request cards, but this time, they are asking for Valentine’s Day cards. But more important than the paper and the handwritten messages was the result. It provided a welcome distraction for William.

“Will has this smile, he just has this smile that’s infectious,” said Jennifer.

And the cards work to bring that smile back.“Definitely,” she said. “It definitely makes him feel better. It worked on all of us, not just him.”

Riley Hospital for Children was among the hospitals that heard about William’s diagnosis and reached out with a new plan for treatment. William has hyperplastic left heart syndrome, which basically means he was born with half a heart. If you would like to send him a card, you can write to him here:

William Sidebottom / Room 3111

705 Riley Hospital Dr

Indianapolis, IN 46202

The hospital also has a free digital postcard service where you can design your own card and then have it delivered to his room.

If you’re looking for inspiration for a card to send, William likes cars, sports and anything outdoors.

He also got some gifts and games in the last few months which he donated to other kids. Jay and Jennifer said it was one of the highlights of this entire experience.

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