Mississippi teenager asks for Christmas cards as he waits for heart transplant

Waylon, 14, reads one of the many cards that people from around the county sent to his home in Richton, MS.

JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - 280. That is how many Christmas cards 14-year-old Waylon Walker received since he asked for them as gifts this year as he waits for a heart transplant.

“He just came up with the idea in his head,” said his grandmother, Deborah Bradshaw.

Waylon was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy when he was four months old. It is a disease in the heart that makes the heart muscle becomes irregularly thick and makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood.

In Waylon’s case, the left ventricle of his heart had to be taken out in order to be able to have blood pump in his heart correctly, but his heart still is enlarged due to the growth of it.

“He was really white," said Deborah. "He was not getting enough blood.”

Waylon has not had an easy life along with being diagnosed with a heart disease as an infant.

Bradshaw has been taking care of Waylon for the majority of his life as his parents both died when he was younger. She expressed her efforts on taking care of Waylon, from taking him to the Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson for tests on his heart, to always checking to see if the rest of his body is okay as he is currently housebound at her home in Ovett.

“I have been tired,” said Deborah. “I’m old so it gets hard on me sometimes to try and tend to what he needs.”

Although it has been rough, Deborah and Waylon are always staying positive about whenever a heart will be available for a transplant.

“I don’t know how long it will be, but God is in control,” said Deborah. “It may be today; it may be tomorrow.”

Waylon Walker, 14, was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy when he was four months old.
Waylon Walker, 14, was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy when he was four months old. (Source: Deborah Bradshaw)

While he has been waiting for a heart, Waylon received an abundance of cards from people in many different areas.

“He’s got one from Texas,” said his grandmother. “He’s got one from Colorado... He just got one all the way from Mexico!”

Deborah said Waylon eagerly waits for the mail to come and is always excited to see what new card has come and where it came from.

Some of the cards came with gifts inside as his grandmother has told us that one card came with a rare two-dollar bill inside.

“He thought it was a counterfeit,” said Deborah as she laughed about the story. “He had never seen one before until then, so he believed it was fake.”

When asked what Waylon wants to be when he gets older, Deborah said he wants to join the military, but has ambition to do something else.

“He said he wants to run a 5K race when he gets a new heart,” said Deborah.

The outpouring of love that Waylon has been getting surely is making a positive impact on his life. Deborah expresses much gratitude to the efforts many people made to help Waylon get his Christmas wish.

“Grateful,” said Deborah. “It's a joy to see him get so excited about something.”

If you want to send Christmas cards to Waylon, send them to 101 Bradshaw Rd., Richton, MS 39476.

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