PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —One patient at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is enjoying his first Valentine’s Day with a new heart.
Valentine’s Day is both National Organ Donor Day and Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, and some children born with the heart defect end up needing a heart transplant.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has performed 200 heart transplants and 5-year-old Tyler Benscoter is one of them.
Tyler was born with a congenital heart defect and had a series of surgeries before the transplant that gave him new life.
Now, Tyler, who loves playing with his stuffed giraffe, is all smiles on the day of love.
“He’s turning into quite a spunky kid and we love to see that spunk in him,” his mother Danielle said.
His new energy comes from his new heart.
After waiting on the transplant list for 18 months, Tyler’s gift of life arrived in November.
“Thankful can’t even begin to describe it,” Danielle said. “There’s been a lot of ups and downs with this journey we experience, hope and fear all at the same time.”
Now, in kindergarten, this adorable little boy is happy.
“It’s the reason we come to work everyday,” said Dr. Kimberly Lin at CHOP.
Lin says patients like Tyler make Valentine’s Day extra special.
“It isn’t just a regular day or hallmark holiday, it’s a real day to reflect on the blessing that we have and the future our kids have when they battle through this disease,” Lin said.
“We’re beaming; we’re so excited to spend it with him and to have him home with us,” Danielle said.
While he’s doing well, Tyler will have to stay on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life and he is at risk for a series of complications. But his parents say that’s okay; they’ve gotten used to living one day at a time and they appreciating every moment, especially Valentine’s Day.