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Nation remains ‘Hailey Strong’ as Midlothian teen’s condition improves

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MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- The 19-year-old Midlothian graduate Hailey Lane, whose massive heart attack galvanized the national social media campaign “We are Hailey Strong,” underwent surgery Tuesday and her heart is beating without a machine, according to her twin sister Savannah.

Lane was home from the Air Force Academy on spring break when she had a massive heart attack at a Midlothian gym, on March 23.

She was without a pulse for more than 20 minutes, and spent more than a week hooked up to an Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine which breathed for her and pumped her heart.

Hailey was taken off of the ECMO machine, and the left side of her heart was functioning at full capacity, after a surgery which doctors called successful. According to the surgeon, the right side of her heart is lagging but they are “hopeful of a full recovery.”

Hailey and family

Hailey and family

Hailey’s family, her twin Savannah, set of older twins, a 10-year-old brother and her parents Brigid and Dennis Lane, have continued to ask only for prayers of support, and have attributed Hailey’s recovery to the national outpouring of support for the teen.

On Monday Savannah told CBS 6 that Hailey had not fully regained consciousness; that she has opened her eyes a few times and responded to familiar voices.

After the surgery Tuesday Hailey opened her eyes and smiled when her mother walked into the room, her sister said.

“God does amazing things!,” Savannah wrote on Facebook. “Still quite a long road ahead but through faith we can all be ‪#‎Haileystrong!!!”

Hailey Lane in uniform with younger brother.

Hailey Lane in uniform with younger brother.

Hailey is in her second year at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. She graduated in the top five of her class in 2013, from Midlothian High School. She is an Academic All-Americans honored swimmer who was recruited to swim by all the military academies.

Her twin Savannah is a second-year student at the University of Virginia. The girls will celebrate their 20th birthday this week.

Hailey decided on Sept. 11, 2001, while in the first grade, that she wanted to serve her country, her sister said in an interview earlier in the week. Her mother was supposed to be on a tour of the Pentagon that morning, but missed the tour bus. The children were frantic when they couldn’t reach their mother and thought she was inside in the Pentagon.

No one predicted that behind Hailey’s athleticism and drive lurked a heart attack, especially in her teenage years. The family will soon all have tests run to see if there is an unknown condition in the family, her sister said.

For now they are at Hailey’s side praying for her recovery. To leave a #HaileyStrong message, click here.