A Youngstown toddler born with a congenital heart defect received a new lease on life after undergoing a life-saving heart transplant Monday in Cleveland.

According to Jude's grandmother Sharon Epps told 21 News that the Cleveland Clinic doctors said the surgery went extremely well, that the surgery began later Monday evening and was completed before 9 p.m. 

Epps said the doctors monitored the little boy's new heart for several hours before completing the surgery. 

According to Epps, the breathing tubing has been removed and Jude is resting comfortably Tuesday. 

Jude Sedor-Franzak was born six weeks premature in 2020 with a hole in his heart. The hole grew bigger and eventually required open heart surgery in September of 2021. Because of complications caused by heart block, the toddler had to have a pacemaker installed in October. 

During routine checkup earlier this year, Jude's doctors discovered that his heart had become enlarged and he was immediately hospitalized at Akron Children's Hospital. Jude's condition deteriorated and the toddler was unstable, requiring intubation and emergency transport by ambulance to Cleveland Clinic, where he was admitted to the PICU. Jude has been in the hospital since February. 

Jude then underwent more surgery to replace and rewire his pacemaker. "Unfortunately, the new pacemaker did not function as the doctors had hoped, leading to Jude's heart failure. He has since undergone yet another surgery, this time to install a Berlin Heart. This ventricular assist device pumps blood from his left ventricle to his aorta, keeping him stable until he can receive a new heart," said Jessica Sedor-Franzak, Jude's mother. 

There will be a fundraiser for Jude Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Patrick's in Hubbard, with Craft Club and Shine selling bracelets. For more information on the fundraiser, call or text Lisa Love at 330-728-2429.

"We are working together to make bracelets as a fundraiser for little Jude and his parents to help with medical expenses," said Lisa Love, coordinator of the event. "The members of our parish family are always ready and willing to follow Christ’s call to love one another and shine His Light. The bracelets will be available for a donation at the church’s annual festival on August 4-7."

There are several ways you can help the family with medical costs. They are parishioners at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hubbard where Jude's grandmother, Sharon Epps is accepting donations. T.J Sedor-Franzak's parents are also parishioners at St. Benedict the Abbot in McMurray, PA and are currently accepting donations as well. 

As of last week, the family as been able to raise $63,000 out of a $100,000 goal to ease the financial stress.