SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A 10-year-old East Texas boy is one step closer to getting a life-saving new heart, thanks to overwhelming support from the community.
Anthony Herman, from Marshall, has suffered since birth from aortic valve stenosis, a narrowing a major valve that restricts his blood flow. He's has had open heart surgery nine times. The doctors fixed him every time, until they couldn't fix him anymore.
"Unfortunately we've come close to that mark of losing him several times and that is not an easy thing, said his mother Kathleen Herman.
That's why it was so important to raise the $60,000 needed to pay for a heart transplant.
With the help of Children's Organ Transplant Association, the family has finally raised enough money to pay for the life-saving procedure.
His doctors at Children's Medical Center in Dallas have already put him on a waiting list for a heart transplant.
"It's a hard thing and even when the call (for the transplant) comes, I would imagine it's going to be a very hard thing for all of us," said Kathleen Herman.
Through it all, the family has stood strong for Anthony.
"When you're in that situation you have a choice, said Anthony's father Ray Herman. "You can either say why me or why not me?"
A few weeks during church services at Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Marshall, Anthony had an allergic reaction to nuts from a cookie he had eaten earlier. A paramedic happened to be there to treat him. When he was finished, the family thanked him, and he said 'Anything for Anthony'.
From that moment on, those three words took off and soon a community showed an overwhelming outpouring of love for Anthony.
First, one of his friends, Devon Willis, made a video displaying story boards of pictures and Anthony's story and encouraging people to give to the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA).
"She's just a little girl but she has created a buzz, and I love that," said Devon's mother Julie Willis.
Willis happens to be the COTA representative helping Anthony's family raise money for expensive medical procedures and the cost of a lifetime of medications and medical procedures.
Soon after the video hit You Tube, someone created a Facebook page fittingly entitled 'Anything for Anthony'. That is where everyone is asked to post pictures or videos of 'heart hands' they make by shaping their hands to create the shape of a heart.
It's just the small things like these that mean the most for families like the Herman's to help comfort a shy little boy with a big smile who faces *the challenge of his young life. This community is doing anything for Anthony.
While they have met their fundraising goal of $60,000, Anthony's family says they will continue to raise funds to help pay for the care that will be required for the rest of his life.