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Las Vegas baby finds donor heart, transplant surgery successful

By Joe Vigil

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    LAS VEGAS, Nevada (KVVU) — Franky and Esmeralda Garcia were stunned on Friday when they got a call saying a donor’s heart had been located for their two-month-old girl Amelia. On Saturday they said the donor’s heart was placed into their girl during surgery, which lasted about eight hours. That child’s heart now beats strongly in Amelia’s body.

“As a mom, we’ve had some really dark days where we wondered what was going to happen to our baby. Are we going to have our child at Christmas? And you think there’s a mom out there, parents, that in their sorrow said yes, said yes to giving our child life,” said Esmeralda Garcia.

The couple knew before Amelia was born she would have to undergo surgery for a heart problem, but were stunned to hear she would need a brand new heart. FOX5 learned Amelia made it on the transplant list about four weeks ago and had no idea how long it would take for a donor heart.

The donor is anonymous and the Garcia’s say thank you is a huge understatement for what they did for their baby. The Garcia’s say they want to raise Amelia the best they can for the donor.

“Teach her to be kind and grow up knowing your life is saved. And we’ll probably spend the rest of our lives trying to do good for others because so many people have done good for us. I mean, our daughter got the ultimate gift of life,” said Esmeralda.

The transplant surgery happened at UCLA in Southern California. The Garcia family says Amelia will remain in the hospital for at least a few weeks. But the family will stay in Southern California for three months to make sure everything goes okay before they return home.

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