News / Edmonton

Girl returning home after two birthdays in hospital

There's no place like home for a four-year-old girl that will finally get to leave the Stollery Children's Hospital after two years.

Sophie Upton was being kept alive on a device called a Berlin Heart, after being diagnosed with blood cancer at the age of two.

Sophie is the longest-standing paediatric patient in North America to be dependent on the artificial heart, which is used to assist children waiting for a heart transplant or recovering from heart surgery.

“My Berlin Heart helped my heart to get stronger,” said the cheerful Sophie, whose full recovery has amazed her parents and doctors alike.

Only about five per cent of patients on the Berlin Heart ever become free of the device.

Her case illustrates the ever-growing need for organ and tissue donation, as heart transplant waiting lists are growing much faster than the donation rate.

Tomorrow, Sophie will head back home to Winnipeg with her grateful parents Edward and Ning, who are looking forward to a regular family life.

“We'll sit down and relax, maybe take her to the park,” said Edward.

Her mother shares a similar sentiment.

“We can enjoy a quiet moment without doctors and nurses coming in to check on her,” said Ning.

“Sophie will be closer to family; she can go to kindergarten and live a normal life.”

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