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12-year-old finds her tune after multi-organ transplant

PITTSBURGH -- Chelsea Wheeler had a multi-organ transplant in September at Children's Hospital Pittsburgh -- but she isn't missing a beat.

The 12-year-old is learning to play the ukulele, with the help of her music therapists Kory Antonacci and Nicole Steele, reports CBS Pittsburgh.

"Christmas, favorite time of the year. Christmas, lots of holiday cheer," Chelsea sings to a song she wrote herself.

Chelsea plays the ukulele with her music therapists. CBS Pittsburgh

"Somebody had told me she would probably enjoy music therapy," Antonacci said. "And when I walked in the door, it was kind of an instant click."

"She came in and said, 'What do you want to do?'" Chelsea said. "And I said, 'Learn to play the ukulele.' So, she got me a ukulele, and we started playing together."

Chelsea's mother, Linda Wheeler, told CBS Pittsburgh that the Connecticut family researched hospitals nationwide -- and a reputation for transplant success brought them to Pittsburgh.

"We've been here through Halloween, through Thanksgiving, we'll be here for Christmas," she said. "And it's like another family."

"Everyone's really nice here," said Chelsea. "All the nurses are really nice, They're all my friends up on the floor. They make it better."

And the song she wrote?

"I love Christmas, so I wrote down all the things I love about Christmas, and it kind of just came," she said.

Chelsea expects to sing of many Christmases to come, thanks to her musical friends, and Children's Hospital.

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