Shania Harris sat on an exam table at the Duke Children's Hospital cardiology unit. She smiled shyly and teased her great-uncle, Tony Jenkins, whom she calls “Papa,” about how much better she did than he last Christmas.
“Papa didn’t get any toys,” she said. Papa acknowledged that Santa hadn’t brought him any toys. But he and the rest of their family had gotten something much more precious: They got Shania back.
After nearly a year being treated for potentially fatal kidney and heart conditions, Shania became the recipient of Duke Children’s first-ever heart-plus-other-organ transplant. When she was discharged on December 11, 2015, she had been in the hospital—mostly the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)—for 322 days.
“That was the best Christmas present ever, having Shania come home,” said Shania’s mother, Ashley Robinson. “It was a long, scary year, and we were so happy to have her home and start getting our lives back to normal.”