8-year-old girl celebrates new heart for Valentine’s Day

Click here for video story: 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This Valentine’s Day, eight-year-old Leah Mason celebrated her new heart.

“It feels good,” she said with a smile on her face. “I have a full heart that I can celebrate Valentine’s Day with.”

Born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Leah’s doctors had warned her family one day she would need a heart transplant.

Last year, that need came sooner than expected. Leah’s heart was in trouble—it started to fail.

“She didn’t feel good, she was tired,” said her mom, Kim Mason. “We were having to try and keep her alive and healthy enough for a transplant.”

Leah grew extremely sick. Fighting, she waited on the heart transplant list for her perfect match.

Six months later, on November 2, she received her “gift of life.”

“She’s becoming an eight-year-old little girl again and not just a sick patient in the hospital,” said Mason.

Even though she’s out of the hospital, Leah still spends her days doing therapy. The Ronald McDonald House has become her family’s second home.

“We like to celebrate the really good times because that’s what it’s all about,” said Emily Gretzinger, director of Marketing and Communications for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.

On Thursday, Gretzinger and others surprised Leah on with a Valentine’s Day party complete with heart-shaped balloons, pillows and confetti.

“It’s a big deal, she has a brand-new heart,” said Gretzinger.

A day Leah said she will always remember.