11-year-old transplant recipient says new heart "feels different, but in a good way"

  • Heart transplant recipient Sofia Sanchez talks with reporters Thursday at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. Sofia captured the nation's attention in August when her two birthday wishes came true within a week of each other:, a visit from rap star Drake and a lifesaving heart transplant. At left is Dr. Carl Backer, one of her surgeons at Lurie Children's Hospital. At right is her mother, Natalie Sanchez.

    Heart transplant recipient Sofia Sanchez talks with reporters Thursday at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. Sofia captured the nation's attention in August when her two birthday wishes came true within a week of each other:, a visit from rap star Drake and a lifesaving heart transplant. At left is Dr. Carl Backer, one of her surgeons at Lurie Children's Hospital. At right is her mother, Natalie Sanchez. Associated Press

  • Dr. Osama Eltayeb, who operated on heart transplant patient Sofia Sanchez at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, holds an X-ray of Sofia's new heart at a news conference Thursday in Chicago.

    Dr. Osama Eltayeb, who operated on heart transplant patient Sofia Sanchez at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, holds an X-ray of Sofia's new heart at a news conference Thursday in Chicago. Associated Press

 
Associated Press
Updated 9/20/2018 6:12 PM

The Downers Grove girl who received a heart transplant after dancing her way into a meeting with Drake says she's feeling great.

Sofia Sanchez met with reporters on Thursday, 3½ weeks after she received a new heart during a nine-hour operation at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. The 11-year-old says her new heart "feels different, but in a good way."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Last month, the Canadian rapper surprised Sofia with a visit after seeing a video of her dancing in a hospital hallway to one of his songs while tethered to her IV pump. That was a week before her surgery.

Sofia says Drake's advice to stay strong and keep fighting has helped her through some tough times.

A heart surgeon calls Sofia a star patient and says her recovery is going quite well.

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