Boston policeman forms special bond with Tennessee boy in need of heart

Kolton Hessman was born with his heart on the wrong side of his chest, and ever since November, the 3-year-old has been on life support as he waits for a donor organ that doctors hope will make him new again. But Kolton’s family, from Tennessee, said a simple social media post and a police officer’s generosity have helped them cope as their son fights for his life.

It all started when Grant Hessman, Kolton’s father, set up a Facebook page to update family members on the status of his son, who is undergoing treatment at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.  Nearly 1,000 miles away, Boston Police Officer Kevin Welsh saw the Praying4Kolton Facebook page on his newsfeed.

“I was just looking at the screen and saw a picture of Kolton, a beautiful little boy. When I read his story, it moved me to tears,” Welsh told “I thought, ‘This little boy is a fighter and when I learned he wanted to be a police officer I needed to do something.’”

Welsh sent Kolton a care package with Boston Police Department patches and cars, and started reaching out to fellow law enforcement officials asking them to keep the boy in their prayers and send him packages. Officers heard the call and began sending gear to Kolton and paying him a visit at the hospital.  Ever since, police departments nationwide have joined in.

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“This brightens Kolton’s day to see all the patches, badges and visitors from law enforcement and more,” Hessman told “It keeps him strong. It keeps his mind from thinking of his condition.”

Despite the distance, Welsh and Hessman have formed a bond over Kolton, and they have both been working to spread the message about his need for a donor heart and the importance of organ donation. The family hopes to get a heart from a young donor with the blood type B or O.

“He has been special since birth— a fighter from the start,” Hessman told