Ambassador Highlight: Meet Izabella

At 14 months old, Izabella is one of the youngest patients in the U.S. to receive a heart-lung transplant.

As a premature baby in the NICU in South Florida, Izabella suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage and bled out from her lungs. Five months later, she was diagnosed with a rare surfactant deficiency, which means she can’t breathe without life support.

The only thing that could save Izabella was a lung transplant.

In order to have the transplant, she needed a lung biopsy but was too sick for the procedure. Her life expectancy was seven months.


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When UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, heard Izabella’s case, they reached out to her parents with their own miracle: they were willing to take her case.

Within 24 hours, ShandsCair was on its way to pick up the family.

“We had to Google Gainesville because we had never heard of it,” said Izabella’s mother, Krystina.

With the care, equipment and treatments UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital provided, Izabella was ready for the day of her heart and lung transplant.

Krystina recalled how UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital had ventilators and other machines that kept Izabella alive during those 14 months waiting for transplant. The hospital also had comforting touches, thanks to CMN donations, like the chair that pulled out into a bed, which Krystina slept on to stay by her daughter’s side.

Today, Izabella is full of joy and life. Although she suffers from cerebral palsy, she learned how to walk and continues to surprise her doctors with her incredible progress each day!

Learn more about the Children’s Miracle Network Ambassador Program and how you can support it.