Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Levine Children's Hospital

Ella Kate: Levine Children's Hospital Gives A Second Chance at Life

Ella Kate from Denver, NC. Ella had a heart condition (Tumors) and received a heart transplant.

This is Ella Kate's Story. Ella Kate couldn't breathe for eight minutes when she was born and was airlifted to Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. Hours later, her parents learned their newborn daughter might not survive because of tumors found throughout her tiny, walnut-sized heart.

But the feisty little girl did survive – and a team of doctors began a challenging, monthslong journey to keep Ella Kate alive. It took weeks of collaborative work to rule out cancer. When the hospital’s cancer, heart, and intensive care teams learned her tumors were benign, the focus shifted to treating Ella Kate’s failing heart.

In the months that followed, Ella Kate’s health continued to wane and doctors agreed a heart transplant was the little girl’s only hope of survival – even though there was a chance her body could reject the donor organ. Ella spent 63 days of her life in the hospital before her parents could bring her home. At 6 months old, they discovered that Ella’s only chance of survival would be a heart transplant.

Ella Kate continues to recover and is expected to go home in the coming days. Her family looks forward to having their cheerful little girl back. Watch Ella Kate's full story below and remember to donate today to Secret Santa.

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Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world.