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Aug 29, 2016
After Heart Transplant, Teenager given 1965 Mustang
Credit: The Kansas City Star.
Click on link to see video: http://www.kansascity.com/latest-news/article98345632.html
Heart transplant recipient Ayden Ethridge, 15, of Fredonia, Kan., came to Children's Mercy Hospital on Saturday, August 27, 2016, expecting to visit with other heart patients. But his mother, Jill Gillett, surprised him with her 1965 "barn find" Ford Mustang that had been mechanically restored. She had promised the car to the teen when he was undergoing treatment earlier in the year. Keith MyersThe Kansas City Star
Ayden Ethridge knew the Ford Mustang was in bad shape. That didn’t make him want it any less.
He had planned on saving money and restoring the rusted and aging car his family owned. The problem was that he’s only 15 years old. And a life saving heart transplant earlier this year left him a little behind on his driver education.
The teenager woke up early Saturday morning and came to Children’s Mercy Hospital where doctors saved his life earlier this year. He thought he was only coming to meet some familiar faces, the folks who’d helped him when was sick. But when Ayden walked out the hospital doors, he saw was that same Mustang, new and restored.
“The best gift,” Ayden said as he sat in his car for the first time.
And then he got out, and gave his mother, Jill Gillett, a tearful hug.
Back in February, Ayden came to Children’s Mercy because of heart failure. While he was sick, his mother said that 1965 Mustang the family owned wold be his one day. It needed some tender loving care, and likely some new brakes. She promised him the car, not knowing if he’d ever get to drive it. But just after Valentine’s Day, the kid from Fredonia, Kansas, became the hospital’s fifth heart transplant patient.
“You’ve got a new heart in the same body for your car,” Gillett said. “(It’s the) same as you.”
The car has new brakes, a new suspension and a new interior, thanks to Ayden’s family and Scott Hoag, the CEO of Mustang Racing Technology.
“We decided that the theme for today would be to keep it in its farm fresh glory,” Hoag said of his company’s restoration work on the car. “This is the car that Ayden has in his mind.”
In between the feeling of shock and hugs with the medical staff and his family, Ayden said already knew the first place he wanted to take the car.