HOLLYWOOD, FL – December 7, 2016 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – When it came time to blow out his candles on his 14th birthday, Estefano had only one wish: a new heart.
Later that same evening, the Pediatric Heart Transplant team at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital surprised him with a phone call that made his wish come true. They found a heart for him, making the Weston teen the hospital’s 30th heart transplant recipient. He went home last week to enjoy his second chance at life and just in time to enjoy the holidays with his family. 

Estefano and his family will be reunited with surgeons and staff during a press conference scheduled for Tuesday. Details below.

“Our 30th heart transplant represents a significant milestone for this program. The fact that Estefano (JDCH) got the call for a new heart on his birthday, just after blowing out his candles and making his birthday wish makes it even more special,” said Frank Scholl, M.D. Surgical Director of Heart Transplantation at JDCH.

Video of the surgeons and nurses singing Happy Birthday inside the operating room spread rapidly after it was posted on the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Facebook page.

“We’ve had the opportunity to participate in the lives of 30 transplant families and many more families with children who are affected with cardiomyopathies, heart failure and other cardiac conditions,” said Maryanne R. K. Chrisant, M.D., Director, Pediatric Cardiac Transplant, Heart Failure & Cardiomyopathy at JDCH. “We will continue to provide transplant and advanced heart failure services to the needy infants, children and teens of South Florida for many years to come.”

The Pediatric Heart Transplant program opened on December 10, 2010, when JDCH received approval at the federal level from UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing). The approval of the program was the culmination of years of strategic planning, including the formation of a pediatric cardiac transplant team with the right mix of expertise and compassion. Five days after program approval, the hospital’s first pediatric heart transplant was performed by the expert cardiac transplant team.

WHAT: Estefano and his family will be reunited with his surgical team during a press conference, while they take time to also thank the donor family and encourage organ donation.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 6, 2:30 pm

WHERE: Conine Clubhouse, 1005 Joe DiMaggio Drive (35th Avenue) in Hollywood, FL

RSVP: JDCH Corporate Communications at (954) 265-3455 

PARKING: Media vehicles and live trucks are asked to park along 35th Avenue in front of the children’s hospital.

B-ROLL AVAILABLE: Surgery; Estefano going home; surgical team singing “Happy Birthday” to Estefano to commemorate the life-saving event.