‘We Are All Better For Knowing Him’: Washington County Community Mourns Loss Of 14-Year-Old Boy
WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – A Washington County community is mourning the loss of 14-year-old Parker Muhleman. The teen died Monday night after complications from heart surgery.
“The way he lived until he was 14, beat every odd,” said Parker’s mom Stephanie.
That was Parker’s claim to fame.
“The doctors told us before he was born, he’d never play sports,” said his dad David.
The Washington High School freshman was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. It’s a defect where the left side of the heart doesn’t function. However, Parker was determined.
“He had a ball in his hand from six months old, bowling, golfing,” said Stephanie.
Baseball was his biggest love.
“In order to raise awareness for congenital heart defects, he started a letter-writing campaign. He sent letters to college baseball coaches from around the country,” said David.
On top of that, he became an honorary member of Washington and Jefferson College’s baseball team, showing up at practices, scrimmages and offering life advice on how to never give up.
“He’s overcome a lot of adversity and has really been an inspiration with everyone he comes in contact with and everyone he shared his story with,” said Parker’s baseball coach Anthony Belcastro. “He was just a positive light and I think everyone would agree with me we are all better for knowing him.”
That’s what his parents have to hold onto, especially his unforgettable smile.
“He could walk into a room and make everyone laugh. Everyone loved him,” said Stephanie.
“He was a heart warrior,” said David.
Parker’s parents are planning on setting up a memorial fund in his name.
Visitation for Parker is Sunday, May 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. and Monday, May 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. It is open to the public and will be at William G. Neal Funeral Home on Allison Avenue in Washington. Funeral services are private.
The Washington School District has counselors on hand at Washington Park Elementary and its junior/senior high school for any students and staff who need someone to talk to.