The 11-year-old girl visited by Drake in the hospital as she waited for a new heart spoke today, with her mom and team of doctors, thanking people for so much support during her heart failure, the agonizing wait for a donor and receving a full transplant.
“Thank you guys for all the support, I couldn’t go through this without you,” Sofia Sanchez said at the press conference.
Despite suffering from heart failure and receiving a device to help her heart pump blood, Sofia made a video in August doing a “kiki challenge,” while still hooked up to her IV in the hospital. In the now-viral video, she asked for Drake to visit her and for a new heart — and now she has both.
Sofia said all the responses and cards that she received afterwards “really helped me go through this” and that she and her mom are “trying to find a way to say thank you for all the people” who sent her messages.
She spoke to ABC News on Wednesday about how she’s “felt more alive” since receiving the new heart.
“It’s so much better than my other heart,” Sofia told ABC News.
One of the people who helped the pre-teen fight for her life was rap star Drake, who her doctors said visited her for about 90 minutes at the hospital. Sofia called the rapper and singer, “a really nice person” and even though it really happened, his visit “felt like a dream.”
“He said ‘Stay strong and keep fighting and you will get through this,'” she remembered. “It helped a lot. I had some tough times, I felt like all my friends were having fun and all that.”
The doctors described Sofia’s “incredible journey,” from the time she checked into Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in June and noted her “spunky” spirit.
Sofia was officially put on the heart transplant list on July 10th and given a ventricular assist device. While the machine helped bypass her failing left ventricle and pump more blood, she was able to survive waiting for a new heart — and even shoot the kiki dance video. She finally made it to the top of the list to get a new heart in August.
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SOURCE: ABC News, Catherine Thorbecke and Bianca Seidman