A toast to congenital heart disease raises money and awareness - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

A toast to congenital heart disease raises money and awareness

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ALTO PASS--Jaxon Martin is just one of thousands of children with a congenital heart defect and has had three open heart surgeries.

It is estimated one in every 100 children is born with a CHD.

Two heart groups: Mended Little Hearts and the Adult Congenital Heart Association got together at Alto Vineyards to raise money and support for the organizations.

"When I was growing up, there weren't any groups like this. My parents didn't have any other heart parents to talk to," said Lena Morsch, an ambassador for the Adult Congenital Heart Association

Morsch grew up with a CHD and knows the struggles associated with it and she said programs like Mended Little Hearts helps families like Jaxon's.

"He had his first when he was a week old, his second at age 3, and then the last was right before he started Kindergarten at 5," said Tammy Manary, Jaxon's mother.

She says the diagnosis was a shock to them, but that's what Mended Little Hearts aims to help with.

"They already know what to expect and they help to prepare the families that had just been diagnosed," said Cordell Oathout with Mended Little Hearts.

It's a diagnosis Tammy says hasn't been easy.

"He's gone through so much. More than I'll ever go through in my life. It's a struggle sometimes," she said.

But Jaxon hasn't had a surgery since age 5 and now jumps and plays just like any other child his age.

The money raised from the Hearts and Vines Benefit will be split between the two organizations to make sure more kids like Jaxon can have the same.

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