Valley High student waiting for a heart donor has graduation brought to hospital

Published: May. 21, 2021 at 11:52 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Graduating from high school is an accomplishment but finishing your senior year while also stuck in the hospital is an entirely different feat. 18-year-old Ufelia Lee is living both of those realities.

Wednesday, the teenager graduated from Valley High School. It wasn’t the traditional graduation Lee expected, but it was a day she and her entire family will never forget.

“It was one of the best days of my life by far, seeing her,” Lee’s father, Arthur, said.

She has been in Norton’s Children’s hospital since March waiting on a heart donor, so her alma mater brought her graduation ceremony to her.

“I enrolled to Bellarmine, so I’m going to be a knight,” she told WAVE 3 News with a huge smile. “So, I’m really excited for college, and you know, just waiting on a heart.”

Lee said her support system has kept her spirits high.

“I think keeping me happy has been really important to me by just cooking, and doing art stuff I just have wonderful people around me that help me keep up with the latest things,” she explained.

Lee was born with an enlarged heart and has cardiomyopathy, a condition that makes it hard for her heart to deliver blood to the body.

Her name has since moved towards the top of the list for a heart donor.

“Her birth mom passed away of a heart attack so that’s always been in the back of her mind too,” Lee’s father added.

Lee’s stepmother Jordan said her health has never stopped her from accomplishing her goals.

“The worsening of her condition started her junior year of high school,” she said. “She’d been controlled with medication for 16 years, then it was like, bam! Everything just kind of hit.”

With so much heart, Lee continues to reach milestone after milestone with hopes of reaching many more in the future.

“I think what I look at is the fact that I’m here, but I’m here for a reason, to get a heart,” Lee said. “so that I can go out and do all of those things and feel good, so I think that I just have to keep my eye on the prize.”

Lee’s family has also set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses. Donations can be made here.

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