MIAMI (WSVN) - A patient who received a life-saving surgery years ago took part in a celebratory parade at a South Florida hospital.

Twenty-three-year-old Marlie Casseus traveled to South Florida more than a decade ago to remove a 16-pound tumor-like growth from her face, and now she’s returning to thank the staff for her medical miracle.

Marlie was just a young girl at the time of her first surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She joined hundreds of Haitian nurses for Nurses Week, Thursday, and thanked those who gave her a second chance at life in 2005. “I’m happy to be here in Miami after so many surgeries,” Casseus said through a translator.

Her mom also thanked the nurses. “God first, and you second, saved her life for me,” said Maleine Antoine. “I’m so happy, and I say thank you to America.”

The 16-hour surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital was the first of many for the young Haitian girl, who has returned to Miami several times over the years for more procedures that helped her eat, see, breathe and speak. “I’m happy because this hospital saved my life,” Casseus said through a translator. “I can see again. This hospital saved my life. To all doctors, all nurses that contributed to give me a second chance, I say thank you. It’s refreshing to see again where I’ve been saved.”

And she’s not the only one rejoicing in this momentous occasion.

Nurses like Gina Eugene, who have been with Casseus on this tough journey, said she’s an inspiration. “I see Marlie as a symbol of hope and persistence and devotion,” Eugene said, “and she’s the result of caring with true compassion, sincerity and love.”

Eugene believes it was God’s plan for her to care for Marlie. “It’s a calling, because God has brought me her,” she said. “To take care of her in Haiti. In a vision, He said, ‘You will stay in Haiti to take care of someone,’ and it was Marlie.”

Casseus’ nurses believe she will have to go through one more surgery in the near future.

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