Sumika / by Justin Merriman

Mika Nagao of Imizu, Japan holds her 18-month-old daughter, Sumika, at Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014.  Sumika was one of the youngest patients to be transported from Japan on a ventricular assist device (VAD), which takes over the pumping action of the heart and offers lifesaving support, most often acting as a bridge to keep patients alive until donor hearts become available for transplantation. After the 16 hour flight from Japan to the United States, Sumika and her parents arrived at the Allegheny County Airport and were transported to Children’s Hospital by ambulance. The family received the news they had been waiting for in late May that Sumika would be getting a new heart. On May 30, Sumika received her heart and is doing exceptionally well.