Home Heart Transplant Five-month-old Naples infant gets miracle heart transplant

Five-month-old Naples infant gets miracle heart transplant

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Five-month-old Lucia Torres after getting a heart transplant at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood.(Photo: Family photo)

A family’s faith carried them through every moment of waiting for a new heart for their baby.

A rosary from Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal was given to the parents of Lucia Torres, who was born Dec. 8 with a heart condition and needed a transplant.

The extended family in Naples and Chicago began nine days of united prayer.

The ninth and last day of prayer fell on Mother’s Day. The next morning Lucia’s mother, Annie Torres, got a call that a heart was available, said Liz Vargas, the baby’s aunt and Torres’ sister.

“For us it was not coincidence,” Vargas said. “It was providence.”

Previously: Naples infant needs heart transplant

The transplant happened early the next morning, Tuesday, May 15, and went smoothly, Vargas said.

“It was a perfect heart,” she said.

Lucia’s mother, a kindergarten teacher at Golden Gate Elementary School, has been staying with Lucia at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Lucia had to be intubated.

She was born with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — abnormal thickening of the heart muscle — tied to a genetic disorder, Noonan syndrome. The syndrome can involve a broad spectrum of issues that can affect normal development. To look at Lucia, there is no sign anything is wrong.

As soon as Torres called family in Naples to say that a heart was available, Vargas and other family members rushed across the state to the children’s hospital.

On Thursday, the intubation tube was removed, which has prevented the baby from being vocal.

“I can’t wait to hear her cry,” her aunt said.

It’s unclear when the baby can come home, but so far all is well, she said

Many of Torres’ colleagues at Golden Gate Elementary donated sick days to Torres so she could stay at the hospital. An April 7 fundraiser in Naples at St. Agnes Catholic Church in North Naples raised $65,000 for the family’s expenses not covered by insurance.

Torres and her husband, Victor Torres, also have a son, Rocco, who is 3.

He’s too young to understand the events that have taken place with his baby sister, Vargas said.

“I don’t think he understood. He will get it (later),” she said.

Anyone who wants to help with the family’s expenses can make a donation to HelpHopeLove at https://www.helphopelive.org/campaign/13930.

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