LONG BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) -- A three-year-old girl who received an outpouring of support from around the world has successfully undergone open-heart surgery.
Kaylena Miller, also known as the "lucky ladybug girl" had her surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Her parents wrote in a blog post that she woke up around 5 p.m. Tuesday and was smiling.
Days after she was born, Kaylena caught a virus that led to a serious heart condition.
KTLA spoke to Kaylena's family last week as they prepared for her fifth operation and second open-heart surgery.
"It seems like she just kind of handles it with grace," said Kaylena's father Jared Kubicka-Miller.
"I've seen kids pass. I've heard moms wail at losing their children. And I'm thankful every day that we still have her," Tara Kubicka-Miller said.
Because Kaylena loves the "Ladybug Girl" children's books, friends and family began taking pictures of red hearts and "lucky ladybugs" as a sign of support.
The effort soon exploded. Local fire and police departments started taking ladybug pictures, as did college students.
Then, it went national. Strangers in costumes, the Blue Man Group and even actor Jorge Garcia sent them.
The ladybugs eventually started coming in from other countries as well.
"She giggles every time and so seeing her giggle is priceless," Tara Kubicka-Miller said. "It just makes me feel like there's strength coming to her to get her through it."
Kaylena's family knows she'll likely need more heart surgeries as she gets older.
But they say they're looking forward to writing a new chapter in her story, thanks to the support they've gained from thousands of people.
"I look forward to the day where we're not receiving the pictures anymore," her mother said, "because that means we're all better."
Lucky Ladybugs Help 3-year-old Girl Brave Surgeries
Kaylena Miller (KTLA)
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