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A New Heart for Thanksgiving and a Home for Christmas


When Chris and Ashley Austin of Bedford, IN received the news that their son, Cohen, had been diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy—a rare disease of the heart that restricts the heart’s ability to pump blood—they knew their lives would be forever changed. There would be frequent visits to doctors and specialists, extra measures would need to be taken to protect Cohen’s immune system and at just four-years-old, Cohen would need a new heart.

The next few months would be a whirlwind. Cohen was placed on the transplant list on July 1, 2015 and on November 24, they "finally got the call they’d been waiting for. “I will never forget when they told us that they had a heart for Cohen,” says Ashley. “My husband Chris was at work, Cohen was playing, our older son was at school, our daughter was napping and I was on the treadmill.”



Just a few hours after getting the call, Cohen had received his heart. During his recovery, the Austin family found refuge at the Ronald McDonald House. “We hadn’t slept all of Tuesday or Wednesday morning, so when they told us they had a room at the House in Riley, we were so excited. We crashed.” After just 13 days in the critical care unit, Cohen was able to move with his family to one of the continuing care apartments at the Ronald McDonald House, and he is improving at an astonishing rate. “We were expecting to be here through February but now we’re being told we could go home as early as December 23,” says Ashley.

“A heart for Thanksgiving and a home for Christmas. It’s really a Christmas miracle.”

Ashley and Chris are grateful for the support and comfort the House provides. “Cohen loves the House. He feels safe here and if anything were to happen as Cohen goes through the recovery process, the hospital is right there,” says Chris “There’s a sign on the wall that says ‘This is the House that love built’ and when you’re here you can feel that.”

You can help give families the best gifts this holiday season.

In many families, writing a wish list is a fun holiday tradition. For families with a sick child, holiday wishes take on a whole new meaning. For just $35, you can give the BEST gifts this holiday season—home, comfort, and family.

This holiday season, please consider giving to the Ronald McDonald House where families are able to find hope, a treatment, a cure, and sometimes a miracle while a child they love receives treatment at Riley Hospital for Children and other Indianapolis-area hospitals.  Your support helps keep families together when they need each other the most.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana just celebrated 35 years of keeping families close. That’s 35 years of warm beds, hot showers, homemade meal and a good night’s rest so families can face the weight of an illness together. 

In honor of this big milestone...

Country 97.1 HANK FM will be holding a Fundraising Flash for the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana on Giving Tuesday, November 28th at 8:15am and we will be MATCHING the first 35 gifts of $35!

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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