Boy awaiting transplant suffers setback

Weston Vassallo, a 2-year-old Sandusky boy awaiting a heart transplant in a Cleveland hospital, has suffered a medical setback.
Tom Jackson
Jan 30, 2014
Just hours after the family had announced good news — a heart had been found, with surgery expected Wednesday — a nurse discovered something was wrong. It turned out Weston suffered a stroke during the past week.

As a result, the heart transplant surgery has been postponed, his mother, Emily Appell, wrote Wednesday on a posting on the boy’s Facebook page.

Weston has been taken off the active status transplant list and has moved to the inactive list until doctors know more about his condition.

“They are doing an MRI now to determine how long ago this happened, and whether he’s had a seizure also,” Appell wrote. “They will also be placing EEG leads on his head to monitor his brain activity to ensure he does not have another, or he doesn’t develop any bleeding on his brain. We have to wait this out and weather this storm before we can be placed back at the top of the list (he will get credit for time waited while inactive).

“The doctors tell me this is not the end of the road there are still options as far as medications go” she wrote. “We just have to hope his heart can hold out and be strong enough to wait. In Dr. Boyle’s words, if he’d had the transplant last night, he would not have made it … so we’re fortunate that our nurse, Ashley, realized something was wrong. He says she saved his life today”

Appell and her fiancé, Anthony Vassallo, have two other children, Braden and Lola. Weston also has two half sisters, Kaitlyn and Savanna.

The family lives in west Sandusky.

Early Wednesday afternoon, when the Register thought Weston’s news was good and the heart transplant was going forward, the newspaper contacted Emily Appell for an interview. She then explained it wasn’t a good day to talk.

“It’s a very sad day for us,” she wrote.

Want to help? 
• Donations to aid the family can be made online at giveforward.com/fundraiser/7ps3/warriorsfor-weston.
 
• The Facebook page for Vassallo has a link to the donation site.
 
• There will be a benefit for the Vassallo family the the Brass Pelican in Sandusky on February 22. Look for a story on the benefit soon in the Sandusky Register and here at sanduskyregister.com.