South Alabama 10-year-old recovering from heart transplant

South Alabama 10-year-old recovering from heart transplant

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WSFA) - These days 10-year-old Rylann Day is moving around the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham with ease.

The Slocomb Elementary School student is no longer confined to a hospital bed - she’s spending her time watching TV and putting together a LEGO roller coaster amusement park set.

“Not in pain right now,” Rylann said. “Maybe a little bit - not as much.”

Almost two weeks ago she was getting prepped for a life-saving heart transplant surgery. Doctors diagnosed Rylann with a rare heart condition - dilated cardiomyopathy. Her heart was too big for her body.

“It was three times bigger than the heart I have now,” Rylann said. “I had chest pains in the beginning. I felt like my chest was too tight. I felt like I had trouble breathing.”

In August, doctors informed the family Rylann was in need of a heart transplant. It was urgent need, but one that required the family to patiently wait for the call.

The call came on Jan. 5.

“They told us to be here as quick as possible,” said Rylann’s mom, Jessica Day.

Around midnight, Rylann was heading into surgery at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.

Day says when she looks at her daughter she sees something she couldn’t see clearly before.

“Her future is bright," Day said.

Her little fighter.

“Everybody thinks I’ve been brave throughout this entire journey,” Rylann said. “Mostly because - if I wouldn’t have gone through this, I don’t think I would have inspired people to be as brave as I have been.”

Rylann still has lots of medicine to take, but each day she feels better and is closer to getting back to doing her favorite things.

“I would play with my sister more than anything," Rylann said. “Now it’s been better than anything. Now that I have my heart.”

Day says surgeons didn’t have to reconstruct anything in her chest cavity - the new heart was a perfect fit.

Rylann is expected to continue to recover from her heart transplant at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham for the next six to eight weeks.

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