11-year-old Illinois girl visited by rapper Drake gets new heart

John Garcia Image
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
11-year-old Illinois girl visited by rapper Drake gets new heart
TJ Holmes has the latest on the 11-year-old heart transplant patient who was surprised with a birthday visit by rapper Drake.

CHICAGO -- An 11-year-old patient at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago who was surprised last week with a birthday visit by rapper Drake got a new heart on Monday.

Sofia Sanchez, of Downers Grove, captured Drake's attention when she recorded a video for the "In My Feelings" Challenge, which featured her walking through the hospital hallway to Drake's popular song.

She came out of the 12-hour surgery at about 6 p.m. The heart arrived via medical vehicle just after noon.

"The surgery went extremely well," said Dr. Carl Backer, the cardiovascular surgeon who performed Sofia's transplant. "As with all heart transplants, the next 24 to 48 hours will be critical, but the heart seemed happy in its new home."

Dr. Backer also was part of the hospital's first transplant team 30 years ago.

Sofia, who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, has been waiting for a new heart for the last eight weeks. A month ago, she underwent open heart surgery in order to connect a VAD (ventricular assist device), which is a mechanical pump that helps support the heart and blood flow in people with heart failure.

The surgery has a 90 percent success rate. She will have to take medication and monitor her heart moving forward, but doctors expect Sofia to lead an active and healthy life.

Sofia's "In My Feelings" video went viral and the rap start visited her when he was in Chicago as part of his tour last weekend. He said they chatted about Justin Bieber and basketball.

Sofia had been waiting for a heart transplant and learned Sunday that she was getting a new heart. Her mother delivered the news to her in video that was posted on Facebook.

"I'm getting a heart," Sofia squealed in the video. "Oh my God."


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