Julie D'Agostino couldn't believe her eyes -- and ears -- when she walked outside the Elmhurst home to which she's been confined for weeks.
There, in the dark of a December night, were about a hundred friends and neighbors singing carols to the girl they call an inspiration.
"Julie's a real special girl," one caroller said Thursday. "She's a real fighter and her being here tonight's a miracle."
Earlier this year, D'Agostino was the star of her high school musical production of Hairspray, singing full-out, despite the fact that at the time she was waiting for a lung transplant.
"Even though my breathing may not be the best all the time, I still really love to sing," D'Agostino in an April interview with NBC Chicago.
This past fall, her journey with cystic fibrosis took a turn for the worse. She had to be on oxygen and was mostly confined to a wheelchair.
"Her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to Loyola where they do lung transplants," said her mother, Mary D'Agostino.
But in mid-October, there came what the D'Agostino family called a miracle: a new set of lungs for Julie, just in time.
"Thank God. God gave us those lungs right when we needed them," Mary D'Agostino said.
The teen spent weeks in the hospital recovering from the transplant and has been pretty much confined to her house since then.
Though she may not have been able to sing out like she did in April, the power in her young voice was still evident.
"I don't know what could make this Christmas any better," Julie said into a microphone. "I love you all so much, and Merry Christmas."