Girl from Haiti gets life-saving surgery on Long Island

Life-saving surgery not only saved Hamanda's heart but it gave the 8-year-old girl enough energy to sing again.

As part of the Gift of Life, a program whose mission is to provide open-heart surgery to needy children throughout the world, doctors at St. Francis Hospital performed a minimally invasive procedure on Hamanda this week. The little girl from Haiti had pulmonary valve stenosis, a heart condition she suffered from since birth.  

"She's going to appreciate the ongoing improvement that's going to take several months to years bc her heart was working for eight years against an obstruction," said Dr. Sean Levchuck, Chairman of Pediatric Cardiology at St. Francis Hospital. "The valve between the lungs and the heart was blocked. What I do is, I put a catheter into the heart and try to get through that narrowed area."

None of this would even be possible if it weren't for donations from groups including aspiring medical students from St. Anthony's High School who sponsored her and were in the operating room and also her host family who picked Hamanda and her mom up at the airport and helped make the process less stressful.

"It's internal joy that can't be expressed I just feel so happy for her and the mom," said Florence Marc-Charles with the Freeport-Merrick Rotary Club. 

The season of giving wouldn't be complete without a visit from Santa Claus himself who gave Hamanda presents to take home.

Hamanda is going to spend Christmas with her host family and she has one more visit with the doctor before she goes back to Haiti for the new year.