MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Even though Valentine's Day is over, Miami Children's Hospital still had a heart party on Monday. Pediatric cardiac patients got a chance to thank the doctors and nurses who healed their hearts. This was the 20th year for the annual reunion between doctors and former patients.
Kids played games, had their faces painted and enjoyed snacks in a tent outside the hospital Monday, but the highlight of the day was a chance to spend some time with the doctors who cared for them.
Children, teens, and their parents lined up to hug or shake hands with Dr. Redmond Burke, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Miami Children's Hospital.
"I had heart problems since I was born, but I had surgery when I was five," explained Ben Gonzalez.
His congenital heart defect left him tired and pain as a young child. Now Ben is a healthy 10 year old, and he has nothing but gratitude for the doctors and nurses at Miami Children's Hospital.
"They were the best. They were super nice they got everything I needed," he told CBS4's Maggie Newland.
Kendra Aviles is also healthy after doctors repaired a hole in her heart. Her mom said she comes to the reunion every year.
"Awesome to see all these young children being healed by a wonderful doctor," said Merjeme Aviles.
Adina Alsina brought her 14 month old daughter Briella to the event. Briella had open heart surgery at 12 weeks old.
"It makes you feel like there's hope and it's nice to see all these other patients that are older and see their success stories. It give you hope to know that she's going to live a long healthy life," she said.
Dr. Burke said it means a lot to him to see all his former patients.
"It's really nice, it's a gratifying feeling to know your hard work turns into years and years of smiles. birthday parties, happiness," said Burke.
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