Local child depends on Camp Rise Above for care-free fun after heart transplant

Dylin Gillespie (WCIV)

Mothers always worry about their children, but one local mom has even more to worry about due to her son's health problems.

She's nervous when she takes him places, and she has good reason. Dylin Gillespie has scars to show for the battles he fought.

Now, thanks to Camp Rise Above, Dylin and his mother Kristina can have some care-free fun.

Watching Dylin and his younger sister play, you would think he is a perfectly normal kid. But Dylin was born with a faulty heart valve that required multiple surgeries. Ultimately, none of them were successful and his heart completely failed when he was 2-years-old.

"Leading up to full hear failure, I knew something was wrong," Kristina said. "It was like watching him died every day."

Doctors recommended a heart transplant, and after a year of waiting, the Gillespies got what they were waiting for and Dylin got a new shot at life.

RELATED: Camp Rise Above needs land near children's hospital

"From the time that he woke up with that new heart, I mean, he ate two meals sitting there. He was up and running around."

Even with the newfound chance at life, Dylin and his mom still go to the doctor every six weeks for checkups. He still can't be very far from a hospital. That's where Camp Rise Above comes into play.

"It's a really fun place, and I love going there," Dylin said. "I do ask near Christmas time how many more months until Camp Rise Above."

It's a chance for kids like Dylin to enjoy themselves in an environment that's sage, no matter their health history.

"It's got everything you can imagine for a camp, and they've got nurses there, so I know I don't have to worry about anything," Dylin said.

Both Dylin and his mom are hoping Camp Rise Above will achieve their goal in becoming an actual overnight camp. With help from the public, that might actually happen, and if it did --

"I would be speechless," Dylin said.


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