Make your home page

13-year-old receives best birthday gift of his life

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Wes Hadley looks like your typical 13-year-old boy.

Wes’ mother, Tellesa Hadley, said, “He’s funny, loves video games, of course, because he’s a boy. That’s just something boys do, I think. He’s caring. He cares about other people. He’s kind.”

But Wes’s first 13 years have been anything but typical.

“When I was 20 weeks’ pregnant, we found out was going to be born with half a heart,” Tellesa said. It’s been hard on Wes, not just physically, but emotionally and socially, as well.

“I feel left out, seeing people run and jump and do all this, and I can’t,” Wes said.

He has had six open heart surgeries, leading up to his one big wish for his 13th birthday: the gift of a new heart.

Wes’ 13th birthday wish was granted earlier this year. Wes recorded a video thanking everyone after his transplant, the moment he heard his new heart beating.

Wes says that hearing his heart was cool, but different. “You used to hear very faint, but then it’s just … you can hear it, it’s right there. It’s loud,” Wes said.

Wes’s physical therapists at IU Health Methodist Hospital threw Wes a surprise birthday party on his last day of rehab. It was his chance to ring the bell, marking the end of rehabbing his new heart and the beginning of his new life.

“We want him to do whatever he wants to do. We want him to just live life, have a family of his own. His friends will be running around playing soccer and he’ll say do you think I can do that, and I say you can go out there and kick it around. You can do whatever you want,” Tellesa said.

Just like his new heart, Wes is ready for the next phase of life.

“I’m pumped for it,” Wes said.