Teen recuperating after heart transplant
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida teen is alive and well enough to celebrate this Valentine's day now that she has a new healthy heart.
Any father's heart would be touched at hearing his little girl play piano. But it's an emotional moment because the 18-year-old pianist recently had a heart transplant. "I prayed, and I said, 'Lord, this is the 11th hour, we need a miracle,' and the very next day we got a call that a donor had come through," Kervin Morales.
Kelly Morales is moved to tears when she thinks of her new life. Two weeks ago, she was fighting for her life. "I'm very happy, and I'm blessed," she said.
At age 14, Kelly was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. "Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart. It affects one in 200,000 children," said Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Paolo Rusconi.
Kelly's grandfather died of the same condition. She lost her mother to a rare heart disease when she was just 1 year old. "I have always lived my life in fear. I was always scared. I didn't understand my condition," said Kelly. "Every time I did something they'd say, 'Kelly, you can't do it.' It wasn't fair. I was only 14, and I wanted to have fun."
Her father could not bear the thought of losing Kelly too. "I spent everyday not knowing if my daughter is going to wake up that morning," he said. "She had a heart that stopped several times."
Thanks to a transplant, Kelly will get to play on. During a hospital stay four years ago, Kelly said she was told her music helped another child who was comatose after being hit by a car. "She hasn't moved, nothing, and when I was playing music, they came to my room and said for the first time in months she squeezed her mother's hand," said Kelly.
Now, Kelly will get to make any kind of music she wants thanks to the gift of life she received. Her father and doctors hope more people will participate in organ donation programs. "There are always too few donors for recipients who need hearts," said pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Eliot Rosenkranz.
"When there's no more hope for someone, and they've passed, what better gift than to give to others so that they may live," said Kelly.
Doctors expect Kelly to make a full recovery. When she's strong enough, Kelly hopes to go to college and study music.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)