Boy in viral Chewbacca video thriving after heart transplant

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Austin Eggleston, 15, weighed only 48 pounds when he entered Lurie Children's Hospital more than four months ago. Now, he's expected to go home early next week. (WLS)

You may remember this story: the Chicago doctor who dressed up as Chewbacca to inform a young heart patient he was getting a new heart.

RAW VIDEO: Chewbacca tells boy he's getting a new heart
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Dr. Phillip Thrush promised Austin Eggleston that when a heart became available, he would deliver the good news wearing a Chewbacca costume.



Austin Eggleston, 15, weighed only 48 pounds when he entered Lurie Children's Hospital more than four months ago. Now, he's expected to go home early next week.

Two weeks after the transplant, Austin says he feels "like a nice, crisp $20 bill found on the ground."

The 15-year-old from Pontiac joked about the viral video in a news conference Friday morning.

"All the girls in high school saw me in my boxers!" he said.

After spending the last four-and-a-half months at Lurie Children's Hospital, Austin said he's grateful for his new heart.

"This gives me a chance to live a normal life. I'm going to be able to graduate. I'm going to be able to do all the things normal teenagers should be able to do now."

But he recalls a rough morning on the day he found out the good news.

"On St. Paddy's Day, my mom woke me up at 7:30 a.m. I was mad as heck. I'm like 5 more minutes, Mom!" Austin said.

But he jumped for joy after his doctor surprised him in his hospital room dressed as Chewbacca.

"Never in my life have we seen him jumping....and he was clearly jumping," said Mary Anglin, Austin's mother.

As he gets ready to leave the hospital, Austin's mother shared their family's gratitude to the staff at Lurie's.

"They are not nurses and doctors - they start as friends and they become more, so it's tremendous to see," Anglin said.

"He should do great - as long as you take your medicine," Dr. Phillip "Chewbacca" Thrush said.

"If it wasn't for organ donations, there's no way we would have him right now. You can't say thank you...you can't find words for that," Anglin said.

"I'm never going to be able to thank you guys enough," Austin said.

Although his doctor was Chewbacca, Austin's favorite Star Wars character is actually Yoda because he's "small and super cool." He said he's really looking forward to seeing his best friends in Pontiac.
Related Topics:
healthheart defectsheart transplantstar warschildren's healthfeel goodChicagoMichigan Avenue
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