AUSTIN -- A breath of hope came Thursday for a gravely-ill, 10-year-old from Austin who needs double lung transplant surgery.
Her name is Angelina Flack.
According to Flack’s mother, Rose Arevalo, Angelina got the green light from her medical team at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston that she will be added to the wait list for a transplant over the course of the next few days.
"I'll get to live longer and have a better life,” said Angelina. “I know that everything will go well in the surgery and in the hospital."
Angelina’s fight against cystic fibrosis started at birth. However, she lived without serious complications until the last two years when this degenerative genetic disease flared with aggressive impunity.
Her medical team in Austin diagnosed her with pre end-stage CF and determined she needed this life-saving surgery.
“I’m just so happy that she’ll get to live day after day without that burden and that suffering,” said Arevalo, who noted it could take anywhere from three to 18 months before the organs become available for her daughter.
Meantime, mother and daughter will continue to live in Houston and on stand-by.
“I’m surely grateful for the opportunity for my daughter getting this new set of lungs. It’s like having a birthday. But at the same time, unfortunately, because of one life that’s born, another one has to be put to rest,” said Arevalo.
KVUE's sister station KENS heard about Angelina’s struggle, and to raise her spirits, decided to give Angelina four tickets to the sold-out Justin Bieber concert in San Antonio January 5. There she met her lifelong idol backstage before the show.
The concert took place the night before Angelina headed to Houston for her month-long transplant evaluation.
Ever since her “night of a lifetime” encounter with Justin Bieber, Angelina’s health has shown signs of improvement, sufficient enough to prepare her for the epic challenge of a double lung transplant.
Her mother says the meeting with Bieber lifted her spirits, as have all the letters and emails she’s received from well-wishers nationwide.
“I’d like to tell everyone thank you and I’m so grateful. My family and Angelina is so grateful for all the support and all the prayers, all the letters, all the fan-mail we’ve been getting.
"Words cannot express exactly how I feel. As a mother I’m so grateful. And I’m so glad there’s people out there with big hearts in the community,” said Arevalo.