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A 2-year-old boy from Osaka suffering from a serious heart disorder has received a new lease on life after undergoing a successful heart transplant operation Saturday at New York’s Columbia University, his supporters in Osaka said Sunday.

Toshiki Hata, from the city of Sakai, is in stable condition and resting at an intensive care unit at the university following the four-hour operation, the supporters said.

The boy was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy — a condition in which the cardiac muscles are too weak to effectively pump blood — last year after being hospitalized for breathing problems in August 1999, when he was 5 months old.

Doctors had said he would not survive without a heart transplant. As it is illegal for organs to be harvested from brain-dead children in Japan, the boy’s parents sought a heart donor abroad.

In December, Toshiki traveled to New York with his mother Kazuko, his father Nobuyuki and his two elder brothers to wait for a donor heart to become available.

Supporters collected 114 million yen in donations from around the country, far exceeding their original target of 80 million yen.

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