Katelyn Newell, 8, gets long-awaited heart transplant after fundraising effort

Girl born with heart defect gets new heart

INDIANAPOLIS - A Terre Haute girl hospitalized since January with complications from a congenital heart defect has received a new heart in a transplant operation in Indianapolis.

The Tribune-Star reported that Katelyn Newell, 8, underwent the surgery Wednesday night at Riley Hospital for Children after doctors learned that a suitable donor heart had been found.

Robin Newell said her daughter was excited to learn she'd be getting a new heart and shared the news with her classmates at Deming Elementary in Terre Haute through Facetime conversations on an iPad.

Principal Susan Mardis said many people at the school "broke down" when they heard the transplant news and prayed for Katelyn and for the donor's family.

RTV6 profiled Katelyn and her condition last month after a teacher, Jodi Southard, raised thousands of dollars to help the girl's family afford the expenses involved with a heart transplant, using the Children's Organ Transplant Association.

Newell was born without a valve in her heart and underwent three previous surgeries shortly after she was born.

"(I need) a new heart because my old one is bad," Newell said in an interview with RTV6 last month.

After seeing RTV6's story on Newell, a Justin Bieber fan who was also born with a heart defect gave Newell, also a big Bieber fan, tickets to see the performer in Indianapolis.

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