Iowa Teen Receives Unexpected Heart Transplant on Christmas Eve

Female doctor with the stethoscope holding heart
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An Iowa teenager received a life-changing heart transplant surgery on Christmas Eve thanks to an unexpected phone call the family answered a day before.

Doctors said Brooklyn Soroka, 18, had a condition called mixed cardiomyopathies, which meant that the heart muscle thickened to the point where it made it harder for her heart to pump blood and relax.

Soroka’s parents, Dana and Joshua, told KCCI that they first discovered their daughter’s condition in 2013. Soroka had to stop her dance program and avoid physical activity as a result.

Doctors put Brooklyn Soroka on the transplant waiting list in February.

The Soroka family spent Christmas at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where Brooklyn Soroka is recovering from the procedure.

“We were very surprised when we got the call,” said Dana Soroka on Christmas afternoon from her daughter’s hospital room. “But it was definitely a Christmas blessing.”

Dana Soroka said the family got a phone call from a doctor the day before Christmas Eve saying that a heart was available for Brooklyn Soroka.

After receiving the news, the family packed their bags and drove from their home in Norwalk to the hospital in Iowa City.

Shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve, their daughter received the donor’s heart and was resting comfortably after the procedure.

While Brooklyn Soroka’s parents have an idea of who the donor is through a letter from a family, the donor has not been confirmed.

“There’s no words that we can use to describe how thankful we are that they gave the most precious gift to our daughter,” said Dana Soroka.

Brooklyn Soroka is not the first person to receive a heart transplant around Christmas. Last year, a father of four in Atlanta, Georgia, received a heart transplant on Christmas after suffering from heart failure.

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