A fun-loving doctor dressed up as an iconic Star Wars character to surprise his young patient with the news that he would be receiving a new heart.
Austin Eggleston was placed on a transplant list in November when his heart began to fail. The 15-year-old—who was born with a series of congenital heart defects—was admitted to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as he awaited his new organ. Though his situation was serious, a bright spot during Austin’s stay was his cardiologist, Philip Thrush. The doctor originally surprised Austin during an evaluation by dressing up in a Chewbacca costume, and the teen—who is a big Star Wars fan—made Thrush promise to do it again when news of the transplant came in, according to the Pontiac Daily Leader. On the morning of March 17, Thrush was given the chance to follow through with the promise.
“We were called at 6:44 a.m. on Saturday, March 17, at the Ronald McDonald house,”Austin’s mother, Mary Anglin, the Pontiac Daily Leader. “The doctor said he had accepted an offer for Austin for a heart so we rushed over to the hospital to wake Austin up at about 7:15 a.m.”
In a video published on Facebook by Lurie Children’s Hospital, Austin is seen sitting in his bed when Thrush walks into the room through a pair of curtains, dressed from head-to-toe in his Chewbacca costume. It didn’t take long for Austin to realize his big moment had finally come.
“Wait. Wait. We got a heart?” Austin enthusiastically asked before he repeatedly jumped around his bed. “Do we seriously have a heart?”
Thrush—who has obviously been practicing his Wookiee impersonation—then gave the happy teenager a hug and a high-five.
“I’m super excited!” Thrush told Austin in the video, which has more than 570,000 views.
Austin’s mother told the Pontiac Union Leader that the family learned a heart was available in the early morning hours of St. Patrick’s Day. To keep his promise, Thrush had to enlist the help of a nurse to quickly get his Chewbacca costume so they could tell Austin the good news.
“As we woke [Austin] up, we were trying to stall so Dr. Thrush could put on his costume,” Anglin said. “Thrush had actually left his costume at home on accident, but one of Austin’s favorite nurses was able to bring her costume in and it just worked out perfectly.”
The 15-year-old underwent the transplant operation later that night, and according to Anglin, it was a success.
“I am happy to report Austin is doing excellent,” Austin’s mother, Mary Anglin, told the news outlet. “We couldn’t anticipate a better recovery. From the time that we were notified that he had a heart to now, he has just done phenomenally.”
Austin is continuing to draw attention to his campaign to get Disney to screen their upcoming movie, Avengers: Infinity War, at the hospital for all of the children who won’t be able to leave the medical center to see it in a theater.
For Anglin, she is simply relieved her child will have the opportunity to live a long and happy life, all thanks to receiving an organ donation.
“To see him knowing that he has a chance at life, that he has a chance to achieve so many things leaves you speechless,” Anglin told ABC 7 Chicago. “He will make sure that he does remarkable things because of it.”