MANHASSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The gift of gratitude, just before Thanksgiving.
The youngest heart transplant recipient on Long Island offered a huge “thank you” Tuesday to all involved in giving him his life back, CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported.
“My life just flipped right on its head,” 19-year-old Frankie England said.
England went from dancing 15 hours a day to lying in wait in a hospital bed for a heart transplant.
“I was given a second a chance and I am so, so, so thankful for that,” England said.
England fell ill in the spring and no one could figure out why. Over the summer, he had gall bladder surgery. He said it’s a miracle he survived. Then, just three weeks later, doctors admitted him to Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital with heart failure.
“He ultimately required a small heart pump placed through his leg to support his circulation in order to keep him alive,” cardiologist Dr. Simon Maybaum said.
England waited five weeks for a suitable donor.
“We have two options: we are either going to sit here and we’re just gonna feel sad, or we’re going to be strong and get through this, and I went with option number two,” England said. “I knew in my birth heart, I could get through it.”
Now, he holds in his words an “angel’s heart” in his body.
“I say good morning to him every day,” England said. “We’re in this together. I’m not alone.”
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On Tuesday, less than a week after being discharged, England and his family returned to the hospital to say thank you.
“Now, I wake up and I’m so thankful for even the smallest thing, to be able to get up and brush my own teeth and walk to the living room by myself,” England said.
“You gave hime back to us. I’m forever grateful for that,” mother Deidre England told doctors.
The medical team credits Frankie’s unique spirit and positive attitude for this success story.
“He actually motivated us. We’re working for him,” attending surgeon Dr. Syed Hussain said.
England is returning to normal life, dusting off his dancing shoes and getting them ready for their big comeback.
England will need routine heart biopsies and will continue to take medications to keep his body from rejecting his “angel heart.”