BRISTOL, Va. - Family and friends continue to mourn the loss of 7-year-old Weston Keeton from Kingsport after losing his lifelong battle with heart disease.
On Monday we spoke with Weston's family for the first time since his passing. "I think that he was letting us know that he needed to go and be with Jesus. His body was tired and he couldn't fight anymore," says Weston's mother, Julie Keeton.
7-year-old Weston Keeton lost his battle with heart disease on March 23. Julie Keeton tells us Weston will be remembered for his strength and smile despite going through several open-heart surgeries and living in and out of the hospital. "We feel at peace now knowing that he's met God and that he's being taken care of, and that he's able to run and play without pain," Julie said.
Julie says she and her husband helped Weston live the most normal life he could, even when living in the hospital. "We have no regrets. We did everything we could for him and the kids made so many memories. They got to do everything brothers and sisters get to do at home," she said.
One of Weston's biggest supporters, his older brother Easton, tells us he's proud of his brother. Easton says Weston was his best buddy. "We always played together. Before all of [our other siblings] came along, me and him were the only ones," he said.
Easton tells us he will always remember the good times with Weston and try to keep his memory alive. "What he really liked doing was sitting on his bed playing video games with me, or watching movies, playing board games. It was all his favorite stuff," he said.
"That's what I want for the kids. I don't want them to be afraid of death. I want them to know that Weston is at peace and that he's in a better place," adds Julie.
Julie tells us she can't thank members of the community enough for their love and support. She says things like 'wear red for Weston' gave Weston encouragement. "He really realized what support he had that day. He loved all the pictures. He was laughing and smiling and he was in such a good mood on his way into surgery. We couldn't have asked for a better morning for him," she said.
As for Weston's arrangements, we're told the family will receive friends Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Higher Ground Baptist Church on Lynn Garden Drive in Kingsport.
After receiving friends, a celebration of life service for Weston will start at 7:00.
If you would like to keep up with Weston's family click here for their blog.