BUFFALO, N.Y. — A 19-year-old from Buffalo is living every day as his last.
Doctors recently told Stephon Wilson he couldn’t get the transplants he needs to make his heart and kidneys healthy again. Now he’s made a bucket list of things he wants to do in the time he has left.
“All I can do is live life to the fullest [and] just try to make every day count,” Stephon said.
It comes after a devastating diagnosis last month. Doctors put Stephon on palliative care after a long journey that started when he was just 12-years-old.
“As we were leaving a doctor was like ‘Has anybody ever told you that his heart was enlarged?’ and we were sort of puzzled,” Stephon said.
Doctors eventually found Stephon’s heart was not functioning correctly. He got a heart transplant in Pittsburgh in January 2010. Since then he’s had four heart attacks, a stroke and several seizures. Doctors recently told him he would need a kidney transplant and another heart transplant, but he would not survive the surgeries.
“You’re not supposed to offer palliative care to a 19-year-old,” Stephani Clark, Stephon’s mom, said.
They said doctors told him to go home and make a bucket list to spend the rest of his time, and that’s what he and his family have done.
“I would hate to die and not leave some kind of mark on anybody that I met,” Stephon said.
He wants to do things most of take for granted, like go to a basketball game, a Broadway play, zip lining and on a vacation. His mom said he’s never seen the beach.
“That’s kind of reaching pretty far because we can’t afford stuff like that,” Clark said.
Most importantly, he wants to spend time with his family, including his mom, brother and sister. They went to their first concert two weeks ago in Rochester.
“We call it our memories movement. We want to do a bonfire and roast s’mores, stuff like that,” Clark said.
Stephon is focusing on the positive.
“I think having this transplant and everything has built my character and self-esteem,” he said.
But it’s a lot harder for mom. They’ve both gotten tattoos to symbolize strength and support.
Doctors can’t say how long Stephon’s heart and kidneys will last. It’s an unknown that brings both peace and heartbreak to the family.
“I’m never going to stop fighting and I’m going to believe, so it’s just a waiting game,” Stephon said.
Stephon and his mother said they’re working to get a second opinion.
The family is accepting donations through a GoFundMe account here: https://www.gofundme.com/stephons-wishlist