KENNETT, MO (KFVS) - A Kennett girl got the ultimate gift this holiday season. The 13-year-old ended up with a new heart just before Thanksgiving.
Katherine Massey does not mind being the center of attention at her middle school during a quick visit. After all, it's with good reason. She just got a new heart.
"It's something totally new," Katherine said. "Scared - it's very overwhelming at times."
Katherine's mom says her little girl is doing amazingly well, considering she just recently went through the transplant surgery.
"I guess I'll always have fears with her and her health," Shirley Holsten, Massey's mom, said. "It's always a possibility she can reject the heart."
The transplant alone added up to $1 million.
"It's well worth it," Holsten said. "She's very priceless to me."
She explains her daughter was born with a heart defect, and has had a pacemaker since she was eight. But the problems became worse this year, and that's when doctors told them Katherine would need a new heart.
"She's been getting tired," Holsten said. "She's been on IV medication, and then we finally got the heart; it was like an unbelievable relief... like my child's finally going to get better."
She's not the only one who's excited to see Katherine's progress.
Many of her teachers and friends say her story tugged at their heart strings, especially when they passed a photo in the hallway of the teen at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
"It's a lot better than being in St. Louis," Katherine said. "This is my home you know, and I missed being home."
She's also excited to get more involved in school.
"I've never been able to do contact sports because of my pacemaker and I was like 'Oh my gosh! I can do sports now!'"
For now, Katherine Massey's looking forward to making some big strides in her new life, and living up to her own expectations.
She wants to grow up to become an astronaut and she also plans on traveling the world.
Her mother says they are very grateful to everyone who made her daughter's surgery a reality.
If you would like to donate to help with the cost of medical bills, you can call or send a check to the Katherine Massey Account, Senath State Bank, PO Box 81, Kennett, MO 63857.
For more information - call 1(800) 738-7528.