Charleston Mom holds transplant fundraiser for others in need

By Deja Knight

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A Charleston family is giving back to the community after watching their own son wait for a heart transplant and undergo several surgeries.

Kristina Gillespie's 3-year-old son Dylan was put on the heart transplant list two months ago and luckily his surgery will be covered by insurance, but Gillespie knows other families are not always as fortunate.

"I couldn't imagine having to do constant fundraisers and stuff and having to raise the money, to sit there and think do I have the money to give my child what he needs to live," Kristina Gillespie said

With the financial burden off her shoulders, Gillespie is now focusing on hosting a fundraiser to raise money for those who can't afford their kids' surgeries.

"We're definitely gonna give it to MUSC to use for other families going through the same thing who aren't as lucky," she said.

Gillespie doesn't want them to give up hope because she has learned that with sick children, there are good days and bad days. It has been that way since Dylan was diagnosed two days after his birth.

At first glance, Dylan looks like any other 3-year-old, but in his three years he has had seven surgeries, been hospitalized six times in the past year and now has a pump attached to him that pumps medicine directly to his heart to help it function.

Gillespie said a new heart for Dylan could come at any time, but until then she wants to use her time for the good of others.

"Everything it takes leading up to the transplant, to watch their bodies deteriorate and everything that's affected," Gillespie said. "It's so much to go through to begin with and if there's anything I can do to help lessen the burden."

The fundraiser is being held at New Beginnings Church on Fort Johnson Road on Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.

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