11-year-old Drake fan finds out she'll get lifesaving heart transplant in emotional video
Sofia Sanchez, a fifth grader from Downers Grove, Illinois, was recently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy: an incurable disease that makes it hard for the heart to pump blood to the body. As the condition gets worse, the heart becomes weaker and it can lead to heart failure. Sofia underwent open heart surgery to connect to a mechanical pump for support, but waited for news of transplant availability.
While she bided her time, Sofia recorded a video doing the KiKi Challenge. In case you're out of the loop, it's a silly dance to the Drake song In My Feelings, off his new album Scorpion. While Drake sings, "are you riding," you make driving motions; when Drake sings "do you love me," you cup your hands into a heart; etc. Some people took this to a stupid extreme, throwing themselves out of moving cars while dancing, but Sofia did an adorable version. She hopped out of her wheelchair and performed the dance in the hospital hallway, while tethered to her IV pump.
On August 18, Sofia turned 11 years old, and had two birthday wishes: One, to meet her idol, Drake, and two, to get a new heart. It just so happened that Drake saw her viral video, and scheduled to be in Chicago that weekend as part of his US tour. So, the Canadian rapper/singer swung by Lurie Children’s Hospital, and surprised Sofia with a visit.
The hospital posted a video showing their sweet interaction. Sofia says that when he walked in, she was so excited she couldn't speak for a minute. "You asked me to come here and I'm here," said Drake, totally nonchalant. "What's up?" According to a hospital spokesperson, the two "bonded over Justin Beiber, basketball and Drake's two dogs." Drake gave Sofia merchandise, they took selfies together, and they sang her favorite song of his, God's Plan.
"This is the best birthday present I've ever had," said Sofia, who called the visit a "miracle." "Thank you so much Drake for coming to see me, it means a lot for you to come and cheer me up."
"She came in with heart failure, she was so ill," said Sofia's cardiologist, Dr Bradley Marino. "Having this one special day where she doesn't have to be a sick patient and doesn't have to be a girl waiting for a heart, it's just a little girl who's a fan of a great artist, it's pretty special."
Now, after eight weeks of waiting, Sofia's second birthday wish has come true. On Monday, August 27, she found out she was going to get a new heart, and the emotional moment was captured on video. "My birthday wish... did happen, well one of them did," said Sofia. "To meet Drake and that one did happen and it was great. And my other wish is to get a heart." "Well guess what?" replies her mother, "It happened. Today you're getting a heart."
Sofia covers her mouth with shock, then runs off camera to embrace her mother. "I’m getting a heart mom, oh my god!" cries Sofia. Her mother replies, "I know, I love you." And guess you showed up in the comment section? Sofia's idol, Aubrey Graham. "Yessssss!!!!!!!" wrote Drake. "My love, so happy for you."
On average, heart transplant surgery takes eight to twelve hours, with a recovery time of six to eight weeks. On Sofia's GoFundMe page, her parents posted an update, announcing that the surgery was a success. "Sofia is out of surgery! Surgery went well. She received a really good, strong heart. They will keep her asleep for the remainder of the night. Thank you for your prayers ❤️ God is good ❤️"
Congratulations to Sofia on a successful surgery. You can see why her favorite Drake song is God's Plan.