BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WKRG) — A family from Daphne is spending weeks in the hospital with their four-year-old son. Gray Ellinwood needs a heart transplant to live. They’re holding out home he makes it through a difficult time. Four-year-old Gray Ellinwood has had a rough summer to say the least. After a trip to the eye doctor in June, the ophthalmologist saw inflammation around his optic nerve–which led to a trip to the ER and a heart exam that discovered Gray has Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy–a heart condition that’s rare in children–it affects the left ventricle and its ability to pump blood to the body.

They’re now at Children’s of Alabama waiting for a heart transplant that could take anywhere from 3-6 months. He’s also been treated for his heart condition and had a pacemaker installed all before the first grade. A condition that could have proved fatal if not caught when it was. His father Vincent Ellinwood spoke to us over Zoom Sunday morning and said that despite the hardship he’s grateful the heart condition was found early enough to make a difference.

“If they have kids and they know that they kind of get exhausted out in the heat for that quick or they can’t play as long as some other kids. It’s always worth it to go get checked. You only get one heart. You only get one body. Make sure it’s it’s as perfect as it can be. And to just please think about being an organ donor. You know, not enough people realize how important these things are. And for weren’t for parents that had the forward-thinking to be organ donors and to be able to allow their children to be organ donors and the unfortunate happenstance that it does. And kids like mine and kids all around the world would have a second chance at life if it weren’t for parents and kids who were organ donors,” said dad Vincent Ellinwood. While this medical emergency has kept them away from home they have set up a page with the Children’s Organ Transplant Network to help pay for expenses related to Gray’s transplant.