13-Year-Old Transplant Patient Returns Home in a White Limo
Armed with a new heart, a 13-year-old transplant patient was finally ready to be whisked home in style.
After a 128-day stay at the UNC Children's Hospital, Albert "Alj" Jeffries, who suffered from Cardiomyopathy, was finally deemed healthy enough to return home.
His mom, Tina Turner, told InsideEdition.com earlier this month that she had been planning a party for his 100th day at the hospital, when suddenly, on the 99th day, she received a call saying that a heart had arrived. Alj would be prepped for transplant, she excitedly said.
"We've been doing this for 13 years," Turner told IE.com, relieved that her son was finally on the path to recovery.
Alj's recovery had taken longer than originally planned, as health complications arose after the transplant. Turner told IE.com that he was briefly on dialysis for a kidney complication, and had to stay in the ICU longer than expected.
Turner also told WFMY that in addition to experiencing issues with his kidneys, her son also suffered complications in his heart and liver, finally going through a bout of pneumonia.
But on Wednesday, almost exactly a month after he said he "felt like a new person" with his new heart, Alj was deemed healthy enough to return home.
"The heart is perfect for him. It's a perfect fit," Turner said.
An officer from the Burlington Police Department even took the day off to give the North Carolina boy a ride home.
According to WFMY, Officer Jack Boyles, III owns a local limousine company. He offered the boy and his mom a free limo ride for his big day.
"It's turned into an absolute blessing and a second chance for this young man and I'm so honored and proud to be a part of that," Officer Boyles said.
In true celebrity fashion, Alj and his mom even chatted with their supporters through a live stream from the back of the white limo as they left the hospital.
"I had a heart transplant," Alj says in the video. "Four weeks later, I am able to walk better, I feel like I can breathe, I feel amazing and I can't wait until I get home."
At one point Alj, who left the hospital with a face mask to protect his immune system, flashes a giant grin to all his supporters.
"I feel like I can do anything right now," Alj said in an interview.
Before the boy could return home with his mom, they made a pit stop at his school so Alj could say hello his friends, whom he has not seen for months.
A crowd gathered as the limousine pulled up to the school's parking lot, and a large group of his classmates can be seen cheering and waving as Alj got out of the car.
"[His friends] always watch out for him," Turner once said.
Once the pair finally arrived at home, Alj quickly returned to his normal routine, eating cupcakes and helping his parents with the dishes.
"I'm not going to have to worry about him being short of breath anymore, for him having chest pains anymore," Turner said to WFMY. "It's all going to be alright."
In the most recent video Turner posted to the Facebook page, "Teamalj's journey with a new heart", she announced that they will be taking a four-day break from the public eye, "just to get back to normal life."
"This has been quite a day," Turner says in the video on the page, which has almost 6,000 supporters. "A joyous day."