Rigby boy battles life-threatening illness, wants date with Ellen
Having spent most of his life in the hospital, 7-year-old Tayt Andersen needs a heart transplant. But what he wants is to meet the woman who's been there through it all.
"Tayt has loved Ellen (DeGeneres) as long as I can remember," said Chrissy Andersen, Tayt's mom. "I think she's constant. She's always positive."
That couldn't be more important, as Tayt has spent three-fourths of his life in a hospital bed.
Tayt was born without the left side of his heart. As if that wasn't hard enough to fight, Tayt's brain also does not drain as it should.
"He's had nine open-heart surgeries," said Andersen.
Tayt is so familiar with the hospital, he is a spokesperson for Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
But as Tayt's health fluctuates and he's in and out of hospitals, there is always that one constant - Ellen.
"Now if he's in the hospital and she's on he will tell his doctors to go away until it's over," said Andersen. "Nurses have to come in and watch it with him. And therapy has to be scheduled around Ellen."
He is out of the hospital for now, but Tayt is far from in the clear. He needs a new heart, and fast.
"I would love to see him date, go to college, grow up and be something, but the reality is, that's not necessarily our outlook," said Andersen.
As the holidays get closer Tayt is making his first wish.
"He has never asked for anything," said Andersen.
He wants to go to Disneyland, and he wants talk show host to be his date.
"I just feel like this needs to happen and we need help," said Lori Embree.
Although Tayt does have a life-threatening condition, Andersen said one of his surgeries make him ineligible for The Make A Wish Foundation.
We talked to Primary Children's and they say that after Tayt's Fontan surgery he was no longer in an immediate life-threatening position. The surgery provided a temporary fix for his heart, but Tayt's battle will continue to be an uphill one. He has just a few years to find a new heart, as he battles his other health concerns. So "Nana Lori" is stepping up.
"I just decided, what better than a social network to get awareness out," said Lori Embree, a family friend. "I've seen it work."
With that, Tayt's wish is now a goal. Lori figured out how to use Facebook and PayPal, and support is growing fast.
"It started as just a small idea," said Embree. "And lots of people have to come the page with ideas."
Eastern Idahoans are writing letters and using social media to try and reach Tayt's "girlfriend."
"We're going to try our best," said Andersen. "He deserves it, but at the very least, we'll get him to Disneyland."
Embree is hoping to raise $5,000 to send Tayt to Disneyland.
If they haven't already flagged Ellen down, Embree says once she's there she'll do whatever it takes to get her attention.
To help make Tayt's wish come true visit facebook.com/TaytsWish.