Christmas gifts can be big or small, topped with bows, put in bags; but no wrapping, no decorating could make the Lyons family's Christmas gift better than it already is.
“I was so excited. I'm like this is the best Christmas present I've ever got,” said Laura Lyons.
On September 28, 2013, her 12-year-old son, Daniel, who has asthma, couldn’t breathe. It happened again the next day. This time, it was a trip to the emergency room. When he went in, doctors told him his heart was failing.
He was transported immediately to Peoria and spent a month in St. Louis. Needing a new heart, doctors let him go home with a Heartware device.
A few weeks ago, News 8 sat with Daniel’s family as they were preparing to put him on a transplant list. The Christmas tree was lit, the family not knowing when they might get that call. Would there be a new heart by the holidays? That question was answered Monday, December 23, 2013.
“They called me and said that we had a heart and I'm like okay. I was excited and I was trying to wake Daniel up and he's like are you serious?” said Laura Lyons by phone.
Driving immediately to St. Louis, Daniel went into surgery Christmas Eve morning.
“Oh my gosh! It's just what I needed. His heart for Christmas,” said Lyons.
Excited for his new heart, 12 year old Daniel had some other concerns.
“Daniel's like, bring my Christmas presents up there and I'm like no Daniel we're gonna hold off Christmas until you get home,” said Lyons.
But Daniel’s nurses had another idea.
“A nurse noticed that Daniel's name was on the room today. She ended up calling me and she's like can you please come up to the 11th floor and I'm like ya, she had 10 gifts ready for Daniel,” said Lyons.
Among the gifts were Legos. Perfect for when Daniel heads home with his new heart.
“Daniel's life is saved. He got a new heart for Christmas!” said Lyons.
Daniel will need to stay in the hospital for 7 to 10 days. He will then spend two weeks at the Ronald McDonald House. A benefit fund is set up to help cover medical costs at IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union.