2-year-old girl survives heart transplants, celebrates birthday - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Two-year-old girl survives heart transplants and celebrates birthday

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It's always fun to sing happy birthday to a child, but when the child is wearing oxygen and has survived a life-long congenital heart defect, plus just underwent a heart transplant, you can't help but sing in awe! Madison Fleak, also known as Madi, hits quite a milestone, as she celebrates her second birthday. FOX 26 News visited her in Katy to help her celebrate at her pink Minnie Mouse party.

"It's a miracle!  There were so many times when we didn't think she would make it," says Madi's mom, Tabitha. 

After researching every resource available, they moved to the Houston area for help from the best specialists in the country for Madi's condition.  The family says they are now blessed because of the care their daughter received at Texas Children's Hospital.  Madi got so sick when she first arrived there, she went into cardiac arrest.  Doctors had to perform chest compressions for about 25 minutes, and pump her little heart for her, to keep her alive. 

"They (medical care workers at Texas Children's Hospital) brought her back and did amazing stuff.  She left the world.  I like to think she just stood back and took a stroll through Heaven for a little bit and came back," says Tabitha.  She went into emergency surgery at that time for a temporary heart pump.  Now, she's recently out of the hospital for the first time in her life, after undergoing the life-saving heart transplant.

Her parents still can't believe they finally have their precious baby girl in the comforts of their new home.  "She makes me glow, that's for sure," says her proud dad, Austin Fleak.

Madi is doing well now, but has to be kept away from harmful germs for several months.  That's why only her loving nurses from Texas Children's were invited to join her birthday party and celebration of life.   These young ladies often spent twelve hours a day at Madi's bedside.

Jessica Gaustad says Madison was her first patient to care for at Texas Children's. 

"We really bonded," says Jessica.  Her nurses are thrilled with how well she's doing.  They tell us they got to know the Fleaks so well, it feels just like they're family members. 

"Madi's got a smile on!  It took us months to ever see her smile. She's gaining weight, you can see that in her cheeks," says Texas Children's Critical Care Nurse, Megan Marines. 

"What she's been through, and what she was going through, it was very easy to be a part of that and want to root for her," says Jessica Gaustad, another caring Critical Care Nurse from Texas Children's.

Madi's grandparents in Wyoming made a special appearance through Skype at Madi's party, and Madi seemed happy to kiss the computer screen.  She obviously recognized them and seemed excited to open the gifts from them.  How special they were able to witness it from afar.

"She's always happy, positive and happy, she rarely ever gets upset," boasts Madison's Dad, Austin.

"To every parent, their child is priceless to them and means everything to them, but with her, you have that thought that you're so close to losing our child, you really know how fortunate you are to have them," says Tabitha.

Madison takes about twelve prescription medications a day to help keep her healthy and to make sure her body doesn't reject her new heart.  Doctors say her outlook is very bright.

On the Web:

Texas Children's Heart Transplant program -- http://www.texaschildrens.org/Locate/Departments-and-Services/Heart-Center/Services/Heart-Transplant-Program/

LifeGift -- http://www.lifegift.org/

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