Wilmington girl celebrating one year anniversary of second heart transplant


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hannah Dombrowski has gone through more in eight years of her young life than many people do in their entire lifetime. It started out when she was just a baby and an inoperable tumor formed on her heart. That diagnosis forced doctors at Duke Children’s Hospital to perform a heart transplant.

“She got put in the hospital on February 18 of 2012,”said Hannah’s mother Audrey Dombrowski. “Then she got her first transplant April 20 of 2012, when she was five months old.”

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That was only the beginning of the hardships Hannah was set to face over the next few years. At seven years old her first transplant heart began to fail as she developed coronary artery disease. That would begin the search for yet another new heart.

“They told us at that point there was nothing they could do, Audrey Dombrowski said. “So, they listed her in April and then we got the call on May 19th.”

May 19, 2019 would be a day they would never forget.

“When she first got the call, she started tearing up, ‘I’m like mom what’s wrong’,” eight-year-old Hannah Dombrowski said. “She was like you got the heart and then I immediately started to bawl.”

Hannah would go onto spend the entire summer in Durham at the Children’s Hospital, before returning home in late August. Now, she is back to her fun loving self and sharing advice to others who may be going through something similar.

“If you get sad, scared, or anything just tell them,” Hannah says. “I will remember you, you are in my heart now. Since you are having to go through what I’ve been through you are now with me.”

Just like every transplant more issues may arise in the future for Hannah, but all that matters right now to this brave family is living in the present.

“These types of things tend to return, but we can’t think about that right now,” Audrey Dombrowski says. “The Lord has given us her and now we’ve got her for eight years. We just got to keep on going. We know that He’s going to provide for her no matter what and we’re just going to have fun while we can.”

Hannah will continue to have check ups to make sure her new heart is doing well. She is just one of thousands of children that are treated at the Duke Children’s Hospital every year.