SAN DIEGO — An eighth grader who spoke to CBS 8 about his journey through a life threatening scare that led to a heart transplant, received a special tour of the CBS 8 studios in San Diego.
Mario Luna, 14, shared his experience recovering from a heart transplant with CBS 8's Abbie Black in March. On Thursday. the basketball loving teenager and his father got a chance to catch up with Black and received a VIP look at the inside of a television news studio.
During a March interview with CBS 8, Luna said on Jan.12, his basketball dreams were nearly shattered.
“My heart was just starting to beat fast. And I had like a short amount of breath. And then I asked her [mom] if I can go to the doctor because my stomach was also hurting,” said Luna.
His heart rate reached 240 at one point, doctors described it as running a non-stop marathon. “If I hadn't gone to the doctor, I could have collapsed on the court or I could have been dead. And I'm just glad that I got there on time,” said Luna.
The Culver City 8th grader, was sent to the emergency room and then to Children's Hospital of Orange County where he needed blood transfusions and he was put on an ECMO machine that oxygenates the blood to give the heart some rest. He was also put in a medically induced coma. Then a nurse gave him life changing news.
Just two days after being put on the heart transplant list, he had a heart transplant donor.
“I didn't even hesitate. I just like went straight up for like, let's do it. And we're not wasting time. We're doing it today, or tonight. And I'm just happy that I got my heart transplant,” said Luna.
That same night, on Jan. 27, Luna was given a new heart, the operation only took four hours.
During his treatment and recovery, Luna's family is staying at the Ronald McDonald House which is also a non-profit that houses families across from Rady’s during their children’s treatments.
WATCH RELATED: How a stomachache turned into a heart transplant at Rady Children's Hospital (March 2023).