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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – What’s in a name? For the Gibson family from Greenville, the name “Faith” is everything. It’s a journey, a way of life and the special name they chose for their 6-year-old daughter, who just received her second heart transplant.
“I put my hands up and said it’s in God’s hands and we need to have faith,” said Jamie Gibson, Faith’s mother.
A beautiful name, for a beautiful girl.
“And we need to name her Faith and honestly, that’s what’s gotten us through,” said Gibson.
Faith has been defying the odds since she was in her mother’s womb.
“They told us that we need to terminate because she was incompatible with life. My husband and I, we did not want to make that choice. That’s up to God,” said Gibson.
Faith needed her first open-heart surgery 17 days after she was born.
“Everyone asks, ‘How do you have the strength to watch your child go through this?’ I get my strength off of how strong she is and truly having faith,” said Gibson.
She needed a second open-heart surgery.
“She was truly blue. Her lips were blue and she wasn’t gaining weight,” said Gibson.
That’s when they came to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Faith was having severe heart failure and needed a transplant.
“She actually had a stroke while we were waiting, totally paralyzed her right side,” said Gibson.
Fortunately, the transplant was successful.
“I had never seen her pink before. I walked up to her and I felt her hands. Her fingertips were warm and they were pink. Her lips were pink. It was amazing,” said Gibson.
However, a heart catheterization showed she needed a second transplant.
“Thank God there is transplantation. It is the greatest gift ever. It allows patients like Faith to live on,” said Dr. Victor Morell, Chief of Cardiothoracic surgery at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He performed both of Faith’s surgeries.
“Doing two transplants in one patient is not that common. It happens in less than 10 percent of patients who have transplantation,” said Dr. Morell.
“Three days later, she was walking. The day after, her tube came out. She has done absolutely phenomenal,” said Jamie Gibson.
Now, Faith is enjoying what will hopefully be her last stay at Children’s, playing with furry friends and painting pictures before returning home for what may be the most special Christmas of them all.
The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and KDKA are teaming up for the 65th annual Free Care Fund Benefit show. It starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13. It will be broadcast live on KDKA.