Mom returns to Friday night lights after heart transplant - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Mom returns to Friday night lights after heart transplant

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Peoria, Ill. -- Friday night lights at Richwoods High School is extra special for one family tonight. A player's mom makes her return to Endres Field after a heart transplant, just in time for Senior Night.

Scholar... Linebacker... Big brother -- These are just some of the roles played by Anthony Weldy. But nowadays, this Richwoods Knight is known as "caregiver". 

Anthony's mom, Shay, has suffered from Congestive Heart Failure for years. 

"I didn't know what to think or what to do or anything. But, I talked to my mom about it and she told me everything is gonna be alright", said Anthony. 

Last year Anthony's mom's health went down hill. She was put on a wait list for a heart transplant.

"Doctors told me I wasn't gonna make it. I was the walking dead", said Shay.

In august, Shay had heart surgery. She spent more than two months recovering in Chicago, while her two children had to stay in Peoria with family.

That's when Anthony earned his "caregive" title, caring for his little sister, while maintaining straight A's, and being a starting linebacker for his high school football team.

When Shalonda Knox found out, she knew she had step in. She decided to adopt the family for the holidays and create a fundraiser, 'Holidays for the Weldys'.

"It was only the right thing to do. You know, I was like 'She's getting a heart... I can give from my heart", said Shalonda.

And she did. The Richwoods High School community is joining her collecting donations for the Weldy's.

"To think of someone helping out our family you know... it just hit home. It warms my heart", said Anthony.

Shay had set many goals for herself along the way. But, her number one goal was to walk her son Anthony across Endres field at his final home game. On on this night, she's doing just that.

To participate in "Holidays for the Weldys", contact Shalonda Knox at (309) 453-6931 or

  • Monetary donations can be dropped off at Richwoods High School main office, 6301 N University Street in Peoria.
  • Checks can be made payable to Richwoods High School - memo: 'Holidays for the Weldys'

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