CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Doctors, surgeons and nurses at Levine Children's Hospital had a big and happy reunion with a group of young patients Tuesday; they're kids who all had heart transplants this past year, and they're all taking advantage of the new life they've been given.

"Some of them were deathly ill when I first met them," said Dr. Thomas Maxey. "And now they're running around and are normal kids."

Pediatric Heart Surgeon Dr. Thomas Maxey and other medical staff members at Levine Children's Hospital gathered in the lobby Tuesday afternoon to see the results of their work: eleven new hearts, keeping little ones alive.

"When we finally got the news about the transplant, it was just excitement," said Allyson Robinson.

Robinson's son Travis is just 13-months-old and had his heart transplant back in May.

"The hospital did a really good job connecting us with other families who were either going through at the time or had been through what we were experiencing," Robinson said.

Dr. Maxey says it's much harder for babies and small children to get transplants.

"Donor availability there is far more crucial than the adult world where it's kind of a one size fits all model," Maxey said. "In the pediatric world, that clearly isn't the case."

But for these families, a hard 2016 comes to a close with happy memories, peace of mind and a bright future.

"I know there was a time that he may not have been here," Robinson said. "So I just appreciate so much more every day that I have with him."

This is the most heart transplants they've ever performed in a single year at Levine Children's.