In a heartwarming video, a 4-year-old girl can be seen marking a very important occasion, the anniversary of the day she received a heart transplant.
Brooklyn Ledesma, 4, was born with a congenital heart defect and at just 1-month-old, had to receive a Berlin heart, a device that supports patients in end-stage heart failure.
“That pretty much gave her time to wait for a potential donor,” Miriam Ledesma, Brooklyn’s mom told InsideEdition.com, “It gave her eight months to kind of sit around and wait in the hospital.”
Ledesma said there were times during that period when she wasn’t sure whether her daughter would ever get the heart she so desperately needed.
But in 2013, at 10 months old, Brooklyn was finally matched with a donor and underwent heart transplant surgery.
“It was the best news I have ever received," Ledesma said. "I had things to look forward to, bringing her home. We lived in the hospital for months straight, thinking, ‘When will this be over?'"
But, Ledesma said she also understands the other side, the pain endured by the donor family.
“A baby had to pass away for my daughter to have a heart,” Ledesma said. “It’s amazing for someone to think of giving the gift of life through hardship. I know if I was in the situation, it would be hard for me to make a decision like that.”
Their family is forever grateful to the donor family, who has chosen to remain anonymous.
Although Brooklyn still has her struggles, she perseveres. She had a tracheotomy after suffering diaphragm paralysis post-surgery. She will also have to take medication for the rest of her life.
“I think I have learned a lot from her. She has taught me to never lose hope,” Ledesma said.
Ledesma herself became an organ donor after everything she saw her beloved daughter endure.
This year, the family had a heart-shaped cake with stitches down the center to represent Brooklyn’s heart. It read: "A mended heart is a special heart."
Last year, the cake was a gold heart to correspond to her nickname, "The Golden Heart.”
“We sing her "happy heart day" instead of happy birthday,” Ledesma said.
She added that she hopes to one day thank the donor family, if they’d be open to meeting.
“I think for the rest of my life I will be forever grateful," Ledesma said. "I could never repay them for their selfless act.”
Brooklyn will turn 5 on Nov. 2.