Posted: Dec 14, 2012 8:54 AM by Erin Schermele - MTN News
GREAT FALLS - After living with half of a heart for her whole life, 5-year-old Carla Wright of Great Falls has received a transplant.
She is now recovering, and her family hopes her situation will raise awareness for organ donation and congenital heart defects.
"Her left ventricle didn't develop in the womb, so they had to do surgeries to reconfigure how her heart pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of her body," her mother, Jen, explained.
But last month, after a year of waiting on the transplant list, the Wright family got a call that changed Carla's life.
"About 30 seconds after saying our nightly prayers, the phone rang saying they had found the perfect match. Which was pretty amazing because Carla was a really hard match with all the surgeries and blood transfusions that she has had," Jen said.
A couple complications worried the Wright family at first, but Carla is now doing well and acting her normal self.
"She loves to come to the clinic and show the nurses and doctors her pretty dress. She loves talking to strangers...she'll just come up to people and start telling them about themselves...'Hi, I'm Carla and I only have half a heart," Jen said.
Now with a whole heart, the Wright family will be forever grateful to the donor family.
"For Carla to receive a perfect heart, a child had to lose theirs," noted Jen. "That means while someone else was losing their biggest asset, their love and their child, they were thoughtful enough to let our child live."
Jen says congenital heart defects are very common in infants and once Carla is fully recovered, she hopes to raise awareness of the problem.
The Wright family has spent the last year in Seattle; they hope to be back in Montana by the summer.