PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – People come from all over the world to be treated at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the pediatric unit gives children hope for a better, longer and more fulfilling life.

Luke Ball, 6, does his daily physical therapy on the eighth floor of the hospital while awaiting his new heart.

“He was not going to be able to continue with the corrective surgery path that we were on for his congenital heart defect,” said Luke’s mom, Stacie. “We were told he’d need a heart transplant in the near future.”

Stacie and her husband, John, moved to Pittsburgh not long afterward.

“We got an offer from Westinghouse and researched Children’s and found it was an up and coming leader that did pediatric heart transplants,” said Stacie.

The transplant wasn’t supposed to happen for a few years, but that changed last month.

“He had a seizure and he stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated. It was a big trauma on his heart,” she said. “The next day, the doctor told us his heart function was different and he was going to have to be listed for a heart transplant.”

Since coming to Children’s Hospital, Luke’s progress has been marked by “beads of courage.”

“He’ll get this one for an echo, this one for a dressing change on his pick line,” said Stacie. “It’s a wonderful program, something the kids can look forward to and see their journey from the hospital.”

He and his three brothers are expecting a visit from Santa. After all, Santa Claus knows where Children’s Hospital is, but there’s another gift Luke’s hoping for and very soon.

“When he gets his new heart, he’ll get his red heart bead,” she added.

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