Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the must-see movie of the season, however, there is one Houston fan whose failing heart prevented him from seeing it in the theaters, at least that’s what he thought.
Lee Williams, 22, has severe heart failure and is relying on an artificial heart to keep him alive.
“It's placed in patients who need a heart transplant but who can't wait for one,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Morgan, surgical director of mechanical circulatory support and cardiac transplant at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center.
Two years ago, Williams and his mother, Cheri Belinowski, found out he had advanced heart failure and would need a heart transplant.
“That kind of news really stung me,” said Williams.
“It was terrifying,” Belinowski shared. “This is my baby and I had no idea. I felt like I had failed because I did not see the signs.”
Currently Williams is waiting to receive a phone call telling him that his donor heart is available.
“It could be anywhere between a minute from now that I get the call or maybe a year or two from now," said Williams.
In the meantime, Williams is counting on the artificial heart machine to keep his pumping.
Generally speaking, Williams says he’s doing well with the machine but it’s changed his life. He’s no longer able to play football, basketball or skateboard and it’s also changed simple privileges like going to the movies.
Last year, Williams tried to watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!, however, the machine makes a noise that others found distracting.
“People were constantly looking back like they thought something was wrong with the projector,” Williams remembered. “A couple other people came up and they were like, ‘do you need that thing to be on?”
“Very uncomfortable,” Belinowski added. “So, he was like, ‘mom, I'm going to go ahead and leave.’”
After hearing that story and realizing how much Williams loves Star Wars, the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Team decided to rent out a theater at Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24 and surprise Williams with a private screening.
“It was definitely a surprise walking in here!," said Williams.
Happy to share the sound of light sabers with Williams’ life-saving machine.
“He is a miracle in my eyes,” said Belinowski. “A very strong young man.”
It’s an organ donor who will one day save Williams’ life; for more information about organ donation visit here.