DOWNERS GROVE – Sofia Sanchez can hear her heart beat.
The 11-year-old Downers Grove resident was accustomed to hearing the motor of a ventricular assist device, a mechanical pump that was implanted during a lengthy surgery in late July.
"With the HVAD Sofia could not hear her heartbeat, but only a motor running,” Natalie Sanchez said in an Aug. 29 update on her daughter's GoFundMe page. “The best part of all was when she was able to listen to her heart beat again. It was very emotional.”
The GoFundMe page, Stay Strong Sofia, has raised more than $49,000.
Sofia is recovering following heart transplant surgery Aug. 27 at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and she’s making significant progress, her mother said. Sofia, a student at Kingsley Elementary School in Downers Grove, had cardiomyopathy, an incurable disease that causes heart failure.
“Doctors are amazed at how quickly she is starting to recover,” Natalie Sanchez said in the update. “And we are so grateful. First we would like to thank God. Also, we want to thank and bless the donor and his or her family. "
The day following surgery, Sofia was intubated and paralyzed.
“The plan was to take the paralytic off sometime during the day and the breathing tube out the following day," Sanchez said. "As the paralytic started to wear off, Sofia quickly started communicating with us that she wanted the breathing tube out. She started breathing over the tube, so the doctors turned down the oxygen and she was able to breathe on her own.”
Sofia is exhausted but expected to make a full recovery, her mother said.
"We are hopeful that Sofia will be home by November. Thank you all for your prayers and support," she said.