Have A Heart - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Have A Heart

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WSVN -- Olivia is like any two year old. She loves stickers and running around the yard, but life was very different a few months after she was born.

Marianne Cantville: "When she was about four months old she had kind of stopped eating from the bottle."

Her parents were soon told Olivia's heart wasn't pumping properly, and worse, she was going to need a heart transplant.

Brent Cantville: "Not only were we faced with a newborn having a heart transplant, now where do we transfer our care to to get that heart transplant done."

With very few options in South Florida at the time, Olivia was sent to Saint Petersburg for her life-saving transplant.

Brent Cantville: "We're four hours away from home. It was very difficult, pretty much locking the door and you're gone."

Dr. Maryanne Chrisant is the director of the cardiac program at the new Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital. She says it's hard enough for families to cope.

Dr. Maryanne Chrisant, Dir. of Cardiac Program at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: "Then they have to uproot, relocate, go to a different city, put their lives on hold completely, it's very very difficult."

And it's not just the surgery itself, Olivia and her parents were making the long drive back to St. Pete every week following her transplant, but now that's all changing with the new facility.

Brent Cantville: "Now we just drive down to Joe Dimaggio's, we're there in 20 minutes."

The transplant program allows families to get follow up care close to home.

Dr. Maryanne Chrisant: "So we can make sure their drug levels are good, their hearts are working well, that there's no rejection."

This is what Olivia's heart looked like before surgery failing to pump blood to the rest of her body. This is her new heart working perfectly!

Dr. Maryanne Chrisant: "The ventricle, the wall, is actually contracting, pushing that blood forward just the way it should."

Which means now she can run and play just the way a two year old should.

Brent Cantville: "Good catch, good catch!"

You can join WSVN-Channel 7 to help raise money for this much needed addition to Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital by taking part in Tour De Broward, a family fun event with activities for everyone!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Tour De Broward: www.tourdebroward.com

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: www.jdch.com

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