PALO ALTO, Calif. (KTVU) - 10-year-old Brayden Eidenshink is on the heart transplant list, holding out hope that he'll be able to get a new heart soon.
But in the meantime, he has a project to pass the time that's gone viral. He's been getting "patches" from police and fire departments around the country, sent to him at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
Some have been delivered in person. Others have come by mail.
Brayden Eindenshink says, "We would get a lot a day."
He estimates he's received more than 560 police and fire patches so far.
His mother challenged him to collect one from every state, while he waits at Lucile Packard Children's
Hospital for a heart transplant.
10-year-old Brayden was born with a heart defect. There were surgeries and treatments that helped for awhile.
His father Brian Eidenshink says, "It got him to a point where he was able to be home with us for an additional five years, before we got to this point unfortunately a few months ago, where he now has to stay here until we get the call."
For 1,659 days, the family from Bakersfield has been waiting for a heart. The last 83 of them have been spent living at the hospital.
His father says they work hard not to become discouraged, "Because we've waited for so long, sometimes its hard to believe that call is coming."
And they say, that's why the patch challenge has proven to be so important: it's happy distraction.
Officer Art Montiel of CHP Redwood City says, "He's really excited about law enforcement, that he want to collect patches and it's something that we can do to make his stay a little bit easier."
CHP came on Friday armed with patches and gifts. San Jose Police came last week.
Other patches have come from as far away as Germany and Wales.
He didn't mention it publicly before, but here is a special reason why Brayden loves first responders: he's got two in the family.
He says, "Because of my dad and my grandpa."
And this week, Brayden finally met his goal, collecting a patch from every state.
He's thinking maybe he should try for a world record next.
His dad says, "To make this a little more enjoyable than just sitting here wondering when do I get to go home because that's the biggest question, when do I get to go home."
The plan now is to take all these patches and have Brayden's grandmother turn them into quilts.
If you would like to send Brayden a patch or item you can mail it here:
Ronald McDonald House at Stanford
Brayden E. Room 304
510 Sand Hill Road
Palo Alto, CA 93404