Seriously ill baby gets the best gift of all

8-month-old Ellie Lim received a heart transplant.


The agonizing wait for a baby's new heart is over, and it couldn't come at a more appropriate time of the year.

Eight-month-old Ellie Lim has spent half her young life in the hospital, waiting for a new heart.

Her mother, Melissa Lim, told CBS Los Angeles she hasn't been able to hold her tiny daughter since August. Ellie has been suffering from an enlarged heart and hooked up to medical devices, in dire need of a transplant to survive.

Late last week, a heart match was found.

Ellie went into surgery Saturday afternoon at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. By Saturday evening, Ellie was out of surgery and had opened her eyes and wiggled her hands, her mom said.

Ellie has been suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy and her heart was nearly twice the size it should be. A heart transplant was her best hope.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, every year more than 1,700 children are saved by organ transplants, but there are more than 2,000 children on waiting lists for an organ donation.

Dr. Nancy Halnon, a UCLA pediatric cardiologist, said, "There are not very many circumstances that children die in and are healthy enough to be organ donors. So a parent with a healthy child is going to be the person who's going to be asked to make the biggest donation ever on the worst day of their life."

Baby Ellie's family knew that tragedy and hope would come hand in hand. "I promise you, the person on the receiving end is so grateful," Melissa Lim told CBS Los Angeles last week before learning about her daughter's new heart.