Haitian teen returns home with a new heart and a new love for Central New York

Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital

Samantha Cadet's stay in Central New York may have been brief but doctors say her journey here saved her life.

The fifteen year old Haitian girl underwent life-saving surgery at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. Cadet was brought to the United States by the international organization Partners in Health.

Cadet's mother was unable to get a visa so she had to make the trip here by herself.

Owen Robinson says the Central New York Haitian community came together to help Cadet feel at home. "We were able to make a lot of connections into the Haitian community here and they all pulled together tremendously," he says.

Upstate cardiac surgeon Dr. George Alfieris performed the surgery on Cadet on January 31st. The procedure that saved Cadet's life was not available in Haiti. Pediatric Nurse Carol Dawson, who cared for Cadet while she was recovering from the surgery, says Samantha had a lot of people looking out for her.

"All of these people brought clothes for her and fun socks and fun pajamas. The whole community stepped forward," she says.

Cadet got a chance to say goodbye to Dawson and the rest of the staff that cared for her at Upstate Thursday morning. Cadet says she is looking forward to going home to Haiti and seeing her mother. She says there are a lot of things she will miss about Central New York and hopes to one day come back here and study to be a cardiologist at Syracuse University.