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SAN DIEGO – A young boy from Hawaii is celebrating his 11th birthday by visiting the San Diego medical team that repaired his heart, allowing him to live a normal life.

Collin Nishinoto was born with a complex heart condition that could have been fatal.

“He had a hole in his heart, blood vessels reversed, the artery to his body was too small – about the most complicated heart defect you can have,” said Dr. John Lamberti, the pediatric heart specialist who led the team that treated Nishinoto at Rady Children’s Hospital. Since his birth, they performed four major heart surgeries to repair Nishinoto’s heart.

Now, the boy is a normal, healthy boy. And when the Make-A-Wish Foundation offered Nishinoto and his family a birthday trip anywhere in the world, he didn’t hesitate.

“We kind of whispered Disneyland or Japan or Disneyworld, but nope, everything came back to San Diego. So you know that’s what he wanted,” his mother said. “Of course, we want to make it his wish and not our wish. So it was really very heartwarming that he wants to come back here.”

Nishimoto and family traveled to San Diego and met and thanked the doctors who save his life. He will also take the opportunity to enjoy one of San Diego’s most famous attractions while he is here.

“For my birthday, I’m going to the zoo and going behind the scenes,” he said.

The visit was inspirational for the patient and his doctors.

“To see him grown up — it gives you the energy and the enthusiasm to do things for others,” Dr. Lamberti said.