NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - It was an emotional meeting -- 15 years after a life-saving procedure.
A Fox 5 camera was the only one in the room as Shelby Caban, 25, was reunited with transplant surgeon Dr. Jonathan Chen, who performed her heart transplant surgery when she was just 10.
"He saved my life. He's got magic hands, a magic brain. To me, he's the person who saved me. I wouldn't be here, physically if it wasn't for him," Caban said.
Caban was born with a disease called restrictive cardiomyopathy, but was not diagnosed until she was in the fifth grade.
"It's a really rare heart disease. Pretty much my heart was really stiff and it couldn't pump blood throughout my body...once they made a diagnosis, that was it. I didn't go home from then on. I had to live in the hospital," Caban said.
Caban's surgery was a success -- and she went on to have a normal childhood.
"I was a normal kid. It was night and day...I remember the first time after surgery i went to the bathroom. And looked in the mirror. My cheeks were rosy. And I know it doesn't sound like a big deal. But for me it was huge. I had never had rosy cheeks," Caban said.
This incredible reunion was made possible by an organization called Live on NY, a group dedicated to saving lives through organ donation.
And now -- all these years after her surgery, Caban is giving back.
She graduated this month with her master's degree in physician's assistant studies, and plans to work in the field of pediatric cardio thoracic surgery -- helping surgeons who are operating on the hearts of young children.