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Moving to Rochester saves teenager's life

Posted at: 02/14/2013 5:55 PM
Updated at: 02/14/2013 6:00 PM

You may or may not believe in fate, but in this story, it is a fact, a young lady's decision to move to Rochester saved her life.

Her name is Emmanuella Edoka and she's an exchange student from Nigeria.  Doctors say if she hadn't come to Rochester, her life would have been cut short by decades.  

No one knew anything was wrong until Emmanuella came to Rochester and started playing basketball at Bishop Kearney. She just couldn't finish the team running drills. So she had a physical and that's when the doctors found the hole in her heart.

Emmanuella Edoka is back on the court, but last year,  her life came to a full stop.

Emmanuella Edoka, Bishop Kearney junior, said, “During practices, my coach would tell me you have to run, you have to do this. You have to do that but I was tired.”

Tests showed she had something called atrial septal defect, a hole in her heart.
The picture shows you what that means.

Edoka  said, “It's the most heart breaking news you can ever hear as a 16 year old.”

George Alfieris, URMC Cardiologist, said, “By definition open heart surgery is a dangerous proposition.”

Dr. George Alfieris performed the surgery.

Alfieris said, “We have to stop the heart and open it and repair the hole in there and get the heart started again.”


And they did and on Thursday, emmanuella was with her teammates at Strong Hospital, working the phones to raise money for the Golisano Children's Hospital.

Edoka said, “I feel better, I feel I can do things normal kids do. I feel like I don't' have to take my time because I have a hole in my heart. I'm just happy.”

Emmanuella had her surgery at the Golisano Children's Hospital. She's on a student visa to study  in Rochester, but her plan is to graduate from Bishop Kearney and get a basketball scholarship.  Syracuse is on her list.