A New Port Richey family made an emotional return to their house Saturday six months after their baby girl received a heart transplant.
Jaelyn Anderson was diagnosed in October with myocarditis; doctors said her heart was the size of a toddler's. The now 18-month-old received a new one in February but she and her parents, Brooke and Joshua Anderson, had to wait to return home because their house needed to be renovated due to black mold.
The community surprised the Andersons with a homecoming party Saturday morning.
"I was trying not to cry," Joshua said. "I was trying to hold it back. But it's just unbelievable. I didn't expect there to be like 100 people here at my house."
The Andersons spent nearly a year crammed into a 500 square foot apartment waiting for crews to finish the renovations and make their home livable.
Both parents couldn't hold back their tears as they stepped foot into their home for the first time.
"It was the best thing that could ever happen to us. It was the most exciting thing of my life to see that everybody could pull through to fix my house," Joshua said.
As Joshua and Brooke handled their daughter's health concerns, Jaelyn's grandparents helped organize the renovations. The community donated supplies, time and money to get the job done.
"I can't even put into words how exciting it is," said Kathy Anderson, Jaelyn's grandmother. "It's been since last October and to get Jaelyn to come home and to actually make it home is a miracle."
As for the Jaelyn's parents, they're just happy to be home with a healthy little girl.
"It's the best day of our lives," Joshua said.
"It's like the day she was born," Brooke added. "As a mother, it's really hard to go through a lot of stuff with your kid and just knowing that I have her is the best gift ever."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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