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Long Island Girl Gets Heart Defibrillator For Her 11th Birthday

Alana Kiceina Suffered Heart Attack, But Was Saved By An Army Veteran
Alana Kiceina with her parents (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Alana Kiceina with her parents (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island girl received a special present on her 11th birthday, a second lease on life.

Alana Kiceina left Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan on Friday with a new defibrillator to correct a heart abnormality that was discovered only when she went into cardiac arrest on April 25.

On that day, Alana collapsed and stopped breathing while chasing her dog through her yard in Mastic. It was originally though she choked on a Dorito, but it turns out the situation was far more serious.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

As Alana lay unconscious on her front lawn a Good Samaritan, Army Veteran Shawn Mitchell, sprang into action and began performing CPR on the little girl before first responders arrived at the scene, police said.

“I picked her up, she gasped for air. I just remember screaming ‘she’s not breathing!’ and the next thing I knew Sean was giving her CPR,” said Joanie Kiceina, Alana’s mother.

A former Army Medic, Mitchell happened to be driving by. His quick thinking saved Alana’s life.

“The fact that early CPR happened and that she had early defibrillation was key in her excellent outcome,” pediatric cardiologist Dr. Barry Love said.

“He did come to visit her in the hospital. She goes, ‘Mommy, who is that big man?’ ‘He’s your angel, the man who saved your life,’” Joanie Kiceina told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge.

Love implanted the defibrillator into Alana’s heart just Thursday.

“The reason we put this in is so she has a measure of comfort and she can go on and lead a normal life,” Dr. Love said.

Alana called the implant her “guardian angel.”

“It feels a little weird,” she admitted.

Alana’s father, Alan Kiceina, was at work in Cooperstown and said he felt “powerless” when he found out his little girl was rushed to the hospital.

“I believe in God but I prayed even a lot more,” he said. “I have a lot more faith even today. A conglomerate of people all doing things got her to where she is today. It wasn’t just one person but everyone working as a team.”

Alana requested a teacup Yorkie as her birthday present, but said if that doesn’t happen, a pair of Air Jordans would do just fine.

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