Alana Kiceina left the hospital on the day that she turned 11 with a new lease on life.
"It's like a miracle. It's a miracle she's here. It really is," Joanie Kiceina, her mother, said.
Just two weeks ago, she was on the verge of death when she collapsed in her family's Mastic yard.
"I remember screaming, 'She's not breathing!'" her mom recalled.
One minute she'd been chasing after her dog. The next, she blacked out. Her mom watched in horror. Her dad was five hours away.
"It was like the most powerless feeling I've had, like I can't do anything," he said.
Thanks to a quick-thinking neighbor and Suffolk police officers, who used a defibrillator to jumpstart her heart, Alana made it alive to Stony Brook Hospital, and later to Mount Sinai, where Dr. Barry Love says Alana's heart problem is hard to explain.
"That often, unfortunately, is the way it usually is. Most of the time we have no warning that there's actually a problem," Dr. Love said.
Doctors aren't sure exactly what caused Alana's cardiac arrest and because of that they can't say for sure that it won't happen again. So they inserted a tiny defibrillator right beneath her collarbone, just in case.
Alana calls it her guardian angel. To her dad, it's a huge relief.
"I want her to have children and grandchildren and a good life," he said. "This is the best birthday gift she can have."
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