WESTCHESTER — An Israeli girl and her family moved to New York so she could receive a heart transplant.
On this Valentine's Day, she’s celebrates a new heart. Michal Lavie, 11, once spent every day on the tennis court until last year, when the bright eyed girl's failing heart led her in a darker direction.
Michal was diagnosed with a rare heart disorder. As her condition deteriorated, she suffered a stroke and was left partially paralyzed. Her parents didn't know if their daughter would survive.
“She could not live without a heart and she had a Berlin Heart which is a replacement of the real heart and it’s kind of a bridge until we found a heart,” said Michal’s mom, Tamar.
In September, Michal was placed on the organ transplant list. On Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, Michal received the call that a heart, her heart, was found.
The Lavies left Israel and moved to New York on a mission.
“I am getting a new life,” said Michal.
After life saving surgery, Michal began intense rehab at Blythedale Children's Hospital, in Valhalla.
She relearned how to walk and talk, and pick up a racket.
“Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and you need a team that’s familiar with transplanted patients,” coordinating pediatrician Dr. Kathy Silverman, said,
“She’s a fighter and she is gaining back these skills and every day she works at it and every day she’s making progress.”
The young athlete's future is back on track, from acing her rehab to future aces on the tennis court.
“I have a victory picture in my mind,” said Michal.