Colorado teen gets a life-saving Christmas gift – a new heart

Pic: Marisela (KXRM)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A local family has a lot to celebrate this Christmas. Fourteen year old Marisela Calleros had never had any health problems in her life, until this fall. After multiple doctor visits and no improvement, a visit to the emergency room was suggested. What they thought was virus ended up being much worse. Doctors thought it might be Marisela’s gall bladder or pancreatitis over two weeks had gone by and she was getting worse.

“By that time it had been 16 days she had not kept food down,” said her mother, Maciel Calleros. “Her heart was beating out of her chest. She was very pale. Her cheeks had become sunken in. She was just very, very sick.”

An ambulance took her to the Children’s Hospital in Aurora.

“We got there about one o’clock in the morning and by 5:30 in the morning they had found out that it was her heart,” said Maciel.

They were hoping it was treatable but the bad news just got worse.

Marisela’s father, Santiago Calleros Jr. said, “I had went to work that morning and my wife had called me at work and she was in tears and could barely talk and when she told my whole world just flipped upside down. I mean I just didn’t know what to do.”

Maciel said, “It was Dilated Cardiomyopathy and that’s when they told us that she needed a heart transplant.”

Marisela’s blood type is rare, O-negative, but that placed her at the top of the list for a new heart.

“You know when she gets out of those surgeries and she’s hooked up to all that equipment and she has all those tubes in her and she just doesn’t look like your daughter,” said Maciel. “That’s not the daughter that you’ve known for 14 years. It’s just heartbreaking.”

Santiago Jr. said, “It got to the point I was afraid to leave her. I was just there by her side constantly.”

But eleven days later, the Calleros’ got a call that changed their lives.

Maciel said, “They had called and said Marisela received a donor so I mean I jumped up. I was showered and in her room within 15 minutes saying, ‘Selly you got a heart! You got a heart!’.”

She had three open chest surgeries in seven days.

“I’d never seen her shed a tear even once and even when I was trying to hide my emotions from her she just looked like she was just ready to keep storming right through it,” said Santiago Jr.

Marisela said, “I always felt bad but I was never like scared I was going to die, not even once.”

She talked about her will to stay alive for not only herself but her family.

“It feels like there’s a possibility you could die if you just stop trying to not die but I saw one day my mom and dad, they were crying outside of my room and I thought it was so sad and then I thought, ‘Well I can’t die now because then they’ll be like super sad at my funeral’ and it was like a sincere thought that went through my head that I can’t die because of them,” said Marisela.

She’s now doing so well, she even got to come home four days early and the Calleros’ are cherishing this Christmas like none before.

Maciel said, “She can just go back to living her life you know. She can just lay on the couch and watch TV. She’s in her home. You know what could be a better Christmas present than that?”

Marisela’s little brother Santiago Calleros the third said, “If she would’ve not been here then I would’ve been really sad and not gotten over it probably.”

“It reminded me how fun she was and how much this house really kind of needs her,” said her little sister Gabriella Calleros.

“It’s fantastic. I mean it’s like the greatest Christmas gift ever,” said Santiago Jr. “It was like a true gift from God. This is a Christmas that I’ll never forget.”

The Calleros’ have a Go Fund Me page set up to help out with medical bills. Follow this link to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/9c8wddmc.

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