By Caitlin O'Kane CBS News September 20, 2018, 3:00 PM Sofia Sanchez, girl surprised by Drake at hospital, talks about recovery from heart transplant
Eleven-year-old Sofia Sanchez stole America's hearts last month when she did the "Kiki challenge" in the hospital while she awaited a heart transplant. The video of Sanchez dancing to Drake's "In My Feelings" while she was attached to an IV went viral and even the rapper was moved by her story. Drake visited the vivacious 5th grader at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. Now, Sanchez is sharing a new update about her life.
Sanchez underwent a 9-hour heart transplant operation three weeks ago and is now recovering at the Ronald McDonald House. With a big grin on her face, the girl spoke publicly for the first time on Thursday. She said she is doing well, and her signature upbeat personality was still apparent.
"It feels better," Sanchez said during the press conference at Lurie Children's Hospital. "It feels different but in a good way. It feels like a regular heart."
Sanchez was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that often leads to heart failure and need for a heart transplant in order to survive. She waited eight weeks for a new heart.
When asked about the spotlight Drake brought to the girl's case, cardiac surgeon Dr. Carl Backer said the rapper's visit did help spread awareness about the need for organ donors. "It's great to get this kind of attention," Backer said.
Sanchez has to swallow 20 pills a day to ensure her body won't reject the new heart. But because she's such a positive, fun-loving person, she's made a game out of it. Sanchez she downs two pills at a time with each gulp of water.
She met her favorite celebrity during the most trying time of her young life, giving her hope and a distraction from the difficult situation. Sanchez says she still texts with the rapper, now her friend.
And just because her wish of meeting Drake was fulfilled doesn't mean Sanchez stopped dreaming. Her next goal is to visit Hawaii and she plans to do so through the Make A Wish foundation next year.
After going viral and captivating millions of Americans this summer, Sanchez continues to prove she has a big heart.