Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor for a Day Three-Year-Old Transplant Recipient Lucas Goeller Was in Charge of Lower Burrell

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor for a Day Three-Year-Old Transplant Recipient Lucas Goeller Was in Charge of Lower Burrell

Article excerpt

Without ever leaving his parents' arms, 3-year-old Lucas Goeller ran Lower Burrell in Westmoreland County for the day.

Lower Burrell Mayor Richard Callendar invited Lucas, who had a liver transplant last July, to serve as mayor on Wednesday to raise awareness for organ donation. Mr. Callendar, who had a double lung transplant in the same month as Lucas, was joined by Westmoreland County commissioners, who designated the day Donor Awareness Day throughout the county with the hope it will encourage more people to consider organ donation."People don't realize how many people are out there waiting," Mr. Callendar said. "Me and Lucas are very fortunate."

After Mr. Callendar swore him into office, Lucas got to "inspect" the county's fire safety and public works equipment. Sitting on his father's lap, Lucas toyed with the air horn and sirens in the fire truck and maneuvered the scoop on the bulldozer. Before a picnic lunch, Lucas dedicated a new playground to Lucy and Ray Andrews, a local couple that funded the project. While he struggled to cut the green ribbon, his 4-year-old brother tore through it.

Lucas received his new liver through direct donation after a Nebraska family heard about Lucas' plight. Now, nearly a year later, he is battling an infection but is still able to do all the "normal kid things," said Jessica Goeller, Lucas' mother. Although still working on his strength, Lucas can walk and play with his brothers, she said, and often wants to help with household chores, such as vacuuming or cleaning the windows.

"Now that he's feeling better, we're shocked to find out we can take the boys fishing and have fun now," Ms. Goeller said. "It's like a new life for us, too."

Lucas was the first person to serve as mayor for a day, but Mr. Callendar hopes that next year a member of the family that gave him his new lungs can also serve as temporary mayor. …

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