Da'realis' Family Experiences Joyful Moment After Heart Transplant

January 11, 2023

Da’realis’, patient testimonial

“It was just a joyful moment,” said Lakesha, describing when her son Da’realis came home after his pediatric heart transplant.

Da’realis went from severe heart failure to doing phenomenally well, but he experienced many ups and downs. First, he had been in and out of hospitals his whole life.

“They called Joe DiMaggio and that’s the best thing that could have ever happened,” Lakesha said. “I believe that's what saved his life.”

“Da’realis was very, very sick and initially listed for heart transplant until genetic testing revealed he had Kearns-Sayre syndrome, a rare neuromuscular disorder, so he was temporarily inactivated for transplant," explained Svetlana Shugh, MD, medical director, Ventricular Assist Device Program, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Institute.

Prior to receiving a new heart, he received a left ventricle assist device (LVAD). The implantable heart pump helped him regain his health and energy level for transplant.

“The moment they told me they had my heart, I was ready,” said Da’realis, who then experienced a successful pediatric heart transplant.

Da'realis' Heart Failure Story

Da'realis' Heart Failure Story

Child with arm around older male in hospital gown

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