The Ceres Courier | Jeff Benzinger

Clutching onto a stuffed toy dog, Keyes girl Shelby Nicole Christopher rests in a UCLA Medical Center room after receiving a new heart on Saturday evening. Her family is elated at the recent answer to being on the waiting list but sad that another child died to make it happen.

Shelby Nicole Christopher finally has a new heart and is recovering nicely in a Los Angeles hospital.

The family of the 10-year-old Keyes fourth-grader learned on Saturday morning that a donor heart became available and rushed into transportation mode to get her to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. They loaded up in a car at 10 a.m. and drove to Southern California. At around 8:30 p.m. Shelby underwent the six-hour surgery to remove her defective heart and replace it with a donor heart from another child. It was pumping in her heart after midnight Sunday.

Shelby was born with a defective heart, suffering from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which affects normal blood flow through the heart. The condition caused Shelby to be short of breath, tire easily and gave her lips and extremities a bluish tint.

"She's doing wonderfully," said her aunt, Kirsten Crarry of Ceres. "She's been feeling better and sitting up in bed more. She's still having some pain but they're trying to keep it under control. She has her appetite back and eating well. She is no longer blue in color like she was before. So far so good. I mean they need to be careful watching for rejection and infection so she's still not completely out of the woods but so far she's just a trooper and everything's looking really good." Continue reading