Eva Gambon was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Now 11-years-old, she is one of the strongest young ladies you will ever meet.

The past year has been tumultuous for Eva and her family. In January, they had the conversation they have been dreading for a long time – heart transplant. Eva will likely need a transplant at some point in the next five years. She is doing everything she can to avoid this, including participating in a blind clinical trial for Entresto, a drug that works to relax blood vessels, allowing better blood flow, and decreasing counterproductive stress on the heart.

Eva and her little sister Aislin at the new rooftop garden at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Despite this news, Eva remains positive. She continues to be an active American Heart Association volunteer and take ballet classes near her home in Rockland, Mass. Last month Eva attended the Boston Heart & Stroke Ball, an annual gala that celebrates the Association’s work and mission, donors and volunteers, and — most importantly — the lives saved and improved because of everyone’s effort. At the 2017 ball, Eva was honored as the Open Your Heart survivor with this video.

This summer, Eva will have surgery with the hope of prolonging the amount of time until she needs a transplant, or to potentially avoid the procedure altogether. Her doctors are waiting until August, so she can enjoy swimming this summer.

Doctors will replace Eva’s existing pacemaker and leads and add two additional leads to get her heart pumping in a more natural and efficient way. This is a twist on an existing procedure called cardiac resynchronization therapy. The most current data on this procedure is promising but not conclusive, given that it is performed as a last resort in many cases.

Eva has been one of the ‘firsts’ for many of her procedures. She has and will continue to count on the newest technologies and breakthroughs to keep her healthy. She’s counting on the American Heart Association to help fund that next breakthrough. She’s counting on you.