SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Leandro boy is beating the odds receiving three separate organ transplants at different points in his life. And most recently, a new heart.
A moment of triumph for Joseph Sanchez. Four months ago, he was walking out of Lucille Packard Children's Hospital with a new heart.
And then, a surprise visit with his transplant surgeon.
"Thank you Dr. Ma for everything," said Elena Munoz, mother of Joseph as he hugs the surgeon
"When I saw Dr. Ma, I was like, 'that is the man that save my son's life,'" said Elena Munoz.
Elena now seeing her son through three organ transplants.
"JoJo, as we've affectionately called him over the years, he's been through a lot. It's both a miracle in what he's been able to get through," said Dr. Michael Ma, heart transplant surgeon at Stanford Medicine Children's Health.
At just seven months old, Joseph was diagnosed with cancer. A liver transplant soon followed. Seven years later, a new kidney . . . and now a heart.
"I don't think in our history, we've ever done three sequential transplants like this. These are three of the most major organs that vital to a persons survival," said Dr. Ma.
Joseph's medical conditions are part cause of some developmental struggles, but it is his ability to emerge with a smile that sets him apart.
"How did it feel to see Dr. Ma?," we asked Joseph.
"Happy and good," he said. "He goes into the situation even though we know it's a scary situation. He never shows it too much even though he's apprehensive and for good reason. He has a really great attitude."
"God has sent us wonderful people. From the nurses, the doctors, the music therapists, the art therapy . . . those people made his days," Elena said.
Joseph is even writing a song about his journey . . .
But amidst the joy, there is still some fear.
"He could have rejection. They can stop working right. So I think that's my biggest fear," Elena said.
And so she takes it day-by-day and not moment for granted.
"When he had cancer at seven months, we didn't think he'd make it to one year. And now, here is at 19 because of the organ donors they made it possible. I saw him graduate kindergarten, elementary... 'oh, JoJo, it's okay,'" she said.
The emotion runs high as mom lists the milestones with great hopes of many more to come.
"First elementary, then middle school, and high school and I hope see him graduate college."
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