Disney dream comes true for girl with 5 heart defects

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A 6-year-old Meriden girl who was born with a congenital heart disease is on her way to a magical vacation with her family.

Hearts and Courage — The Tara Troy Gambardella Foundation makes kids smile and grants wishes for children with cardiac conditions. Amanda Esposito is heading to Disney World with her brothers, mom and dad for a trip of a lifetime.

“I’m excited about seeing the princess and my favorite character is Elsa,” Amanda said.

In April Amanda had open heart surgery. “She was born with five congenital heart defects back in 2008, and her first surgery was at four and a half months,” Renee Esposito, Amanda’s mother said.

Four months later a dream vacation awaits to the Magic Kingdom. Despite all the surgeries Amanda’s mother says her daughter is a brave little girl. “She is doing really well,” Esposito said. “There’s been tears, there’s been — we try to put a very positive spin on it to let her know that she is so strong because she endured so much at such a long age.”

Amanda Esposito of Meriden and her family take off on a trip to Disney World, Aug. 8, 2014.
Amanda Esposito of Meriden and her family take off on a trip to Disney World, Aug. 8, 2014.

“She has been through a lot, I am very proud of her,” Amanda’s father Tony Esposito said. “I just wish there was a way I could take her place.”

The Smiles for the Heart program gives back to children who have serious cardiac issues with an adventure, a gift, or a life changing experience.

“We are trying to help children in Connecticut and New York,” Lauren Minichino from Smiles for the Heart said. “We still have limited funds so we are starting out small and like I said we are excited; it’s the first trip. We are sending them to Florida.”

“Everyone on the cardiac unit was amazed at how fast she is transition through everything,” Renee Esposito said.

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