Three-year-old girl receives life-saving surgery

A little girl got the present of a fully-functioning heart just in time for Christmas. A non-profit helped her family travel to Austin from the Philippines to give her a life-saving surgery.

"I'm feeling better,” said Brandy Pearson.

Brandy Pearson reassures Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen of her improvements after receiving a life-saving surgery to repair her heart.

Brandy was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at birth. Mom Bianca wasn't sure she'd make it through the first week.

"She turned blue or pale and then we immediately transferred here to the ICU and there she has been resuscitated 3 or 4 times until the doctor would say this is the last time we will resuscitate her. Next time she'd be gone we will not help her anymore,” said mom Bianca.

Over the next three years, Brandy would endure three surgeries and many trips to the hospital.

"She couldn't swim. She couldn't climb,” said Bianca. “Even eat a lot she can't do that because she would get so tired easily, drinking water. Any activity would make her exhausted."

"Brandy was born with a condition where there's one problem, but it causes four things in the heart,” said Dr. Camille Hancock Friesen. "These children have low oxygen supply in their blood."

Bianca learned of the HeartGift Foundation through friends in their home country of the Philippines. The non-profit's mission is to bring children to the US who don't have opportunities to seek the proper care they need. Brandy arrived in Austin in November and had surgery at Dell Children's Medical Center on the 15th.

"Everything has changed, really. And the glow in her face. The color of her skin, everything. It's beautiful,” said Bianca.

Brandy is aware of her new chance at life running everywhere because she knows she can.

"She would pray ‘Papa Jesus please heal my heart.’ But this time when she got home and she prayed she said ‘thank you for healing my heart,’” said Bianca.

"To watch that transformation from picking them up at the airport to the day we come to get the release from the surgeon and that means they get to get the word of you get to go home in a couple days is amazing,” said HeartGift CEO Christy Casey-Moore.

The homecoming will be extra-special with Christmas just days away.

"It will be the first Christmas to feel really happy and not be worried,” said Bianca.

With a final hug from her surgeon, Brandy was off to do everything her healed heart desires.

Learn more about HeartGift here: