Heart Disease

Jusy how much does Monae Marestin remember? She seems so unaware of what she's been through.

Monae: Look mama, mama? Her older sister brianne sums it up.

Breanne Marestin, Monae's sister: "The doctor had to fix Monae's heart and it was a problem with her heart." When monae was born, her mom was assured her baby's shallow breathing was nothing to worry about. But two weeks later something went wrong.

Caprice Marestin, Monae's mother: "She turned blue right there in my arms." Doctors discovered six major heart defects, and flew monae to u-c san francisco for emergency surgery.

Pierre Marestin, Father: I was two hours away and you just don't think you just grab your stuff and hop in the truck and try not to be a maniac on the road. It was horrible.

Dr. Tom Hopkins: In Monae's case, the upper heart chambers was small, a quarter of the size it should be. The left was also small, and she had this hole in the middle of her heart. So blood that had oxygen was mixing with the blood that didn't have oxygen and her brain was not getting the oxygen that it needed. Doctors had to perform a very delicate surgery.. Four surgeries, to correct all of this.

Monae's mother: "She was consumed with infection we had every team imaginable at ucsf working with us trying to figure out what was going wrong why it was failing. At one point her heart was kept open for six days.. Then, a discovery, a growth - a rare form of cancer. Doctors closed her up and began a 48-week intense chemotherapy regimen, hoping her reconstructed heart would hold on. A lot of times you're walking around in a fog. Often it was monae who provided comfort."

Monae's mother: "Look at her. She's smiling through all this stuff. I, no one else was smiling. I look at her and think she is the strongest human being i have ever seen in my life, honestly."