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Little girl meets Drake, now gets second birthday wish: heart transplant

Drake visits 11-year-old Sofia Sanchez on Monday, August 20, 2018, at Lurie Chidlren's Hospital in Chicago. | Courtesy Jamie Budzick/Lurie Children's Hospital

After a nine-hour heart transplant surgery, 11-year-old Sofia Sanchez was recovering Monday night in her room at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

The new heart was one of two birthday wishes the girl made. The other was to meet Drake. By Monday, both wishes had come true.

“The surgery went extremely well. As with all heart transplants, the next 24-48 hours will be critical, but the heart seemed happy in its new home,” said Dr. Carl Backer, a cardiovascular surgeon.

Sanchez was all smiles when she got to meet Drake last week, one of the two birthday wishes she revealed in a YouTube video. The rapper, in town for a Chicago tour stop, visited Sofia last Monday where the two “bonded over Justin Bieber, basketball and Drake’s two dogs.”

On Sunday, Sanchez’s mother, Natalie, told her she would be getting a transplant.

Drake commented on the Instagram post where Sanchez reacted to the news. “YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! My love so happy for you,” the rapper wrote.

Recovery is expected to take six to eight weeks, according to a post on a GoFundMe page set up for Sanchez. The post asks for prayers for the family “who has unselfishly donated a heart for Sofia.”

The Downers Grove fifth grader was diagnosed with cardio myopathy, an incurable disease that causes heart failure. According to a spokesperson at Lurie, the little girl had been waiting eight weeks for news of a transplant availability.

As of Tuesday, more than $48,000 of a $5,000 goal on the GoFundMe page had been reached.