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11-year-old Athens girls will return home Saturday months after a heart transplant

“We could tell she was scared, but let me tell you, she is the bravest person I’ve ever met in my life,” said Bella Winter’s mom.
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 9:23 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - 11-year-old Bella Winters of Athens lives with nine congenital heart defects. Last November, her family learned she would need a new heart.

This February, the Winters family got a call from Vanderbilt that they had a heart, but it ended up falling through.

“Bella had her game face on so when we told her she was like ‘ugh,’ and then in true Bella fashion, she goes ‘You mean I got two IV’s for nothing?’” said Bella’s mom Corey Winters.

Corey says in April, the Winters got the call again, and the family packed their bags for Nashville once more.

“We could tell she was scared, but let me tell you, she is the bravest person I’ve ever met in my life,” said Corey.

Bella’s heart transplant surgery lasted 12 hours.

“It was very stressful and you know, they tell you go eat but you’re afraid to leave, you’re afraid to eat,” said Corey.

Corey says the procedure was a huge success. The family has been in Nashville since the surgery.

Bella has to walk twice a day, do stretches and exercises daily and she works with a physical therapist twice a week. On Saturday, they can finally come home to Athens.

“I’m a little nervous cause we’re not right here, but every time we go they’re like so pleased with her progress, they’re starting to wean her medication down sooner than we expected,” said Corey.

What is Bella looking forward to?

“We’re gonna ask when I can start horseback riding again,” said Bella.

Bella is also looking forward to dance again and spend time with her friends.

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