NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Valentine’s Day is still 6 days away, but one group of kids is already celebrating with their hearts.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, all of them have undergone life-saving heart surgeries.
Three-year-old Luca is perfectly dressed, a superhero in his own right — thriving after two open heart surgeries to repair a birth defect.
His mother said she feels blessed.
“Watching him run and jump and play just like any other 3-year-old, it’s just so warming to me, and it makes me feel great,” Michelle Ciabotti said.
On Wednesday, Luca joined dozens of pediatric heart surgery patients at Mount Sinai Hospital on the Upper East Side for a special Valentine’s Day party. The event reunited them with nurses and doctors like Dr. Khanh Nguyen who saved their lives.
Bright smiles and energetic children are just what the doctor ordered.
“It feels great. This is my reward, going back to a party like this and meeting all of them,” Dr. Nguyen said.
Dr. Nguyen, a pediatric cardiac surgeon, also performed the heart transplant surgery on 11-year-old Federica ‘Feddi’ Salemi one year ago. Anne Barnes was her nurse.
“It’s very rewarding to see our patients now, for example; Feddi a year out of her transplant, back to school, playing with her best friend, going on trips with her family. It’s very rewarding,” she said.
The medical professionals weren’t the only ones who were touched by the event.
“I want to say thank you for saving me basically. I couldn’t do anything without them,” Salemi said.
Sweet words of gratitude that can warm anyone’s heart.