If 8-year-old Castaic resident, Camille Freeman had been born 20 years earlier, she might never have lived.
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Camille was born with a congenital heart defect, transposition of the great arteries, commonly known as the “blue baby syndrome.”
Her aorta and pulmonary artery were switched, preventing oxygen from entering the bloodstream.
The arterial switch procedure used to correct Camille’s heart defect when she was 10 days old had only been practiced for 15 years.
Freeman said that if it had not been for years of funding and research by the Heart Association, the procedure may never have been developed.
To help raise awareness for children with heart defects and the importance of funding so that life-saving research can continue, Katie and Camille Freeman and their family have been participating in the Heart and Stroke Walk since Camille was born.
This is the first year that the American Heart Association will hold a Walk in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Freeman family previously participated in the Los Angeles fundraisers.
On Saturday, Oct. 26 at 8:30 a.m., Westfield Valencia Town Center will host the Heart and Stroke Walk, as well as a Wellness Expo, Survivor Lounge and Kids Zone.
The event is free, and all the fundraising is done through pledges. Sign up here. Registration and the Expo open at 7:30 a.m.
Participants who raise $100 or more will receive an official Heart and Stroke Walk t-shirt.
Freeman said that when people hear about fundraising for heart disease and stroke research, they often think of overweight or older adults.
But she noted that the funding is just as important for children “suffering from heart defects that have nothing to do with their lifestyle.”
“The advances that they make in technology in medicine every day–it’s the difference between life or death. And it was in our case,” Freeman said.
Freeman also wants to make sure that if Camille and children like her ever need additional surgeries, that the funding is in place to support that research as well.
“Lucky for us, she is considered cured of her heart defect, although there’s no real long-term studies for babies who have had this procedure,” Freeman said. “We don’t know how long until she might need something else.”
To Freeman, Camille is proof that the American Heart Association really does “make a difference.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is dedicated to saving people from heart disease and stroke–America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. They work with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or click here.
About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is dedicated to prevention, diagnosis and treatment to save lives from stroke–a leading cause of death and serious disability. They fund scientific research, help people better understand and avoid stroke, encourage government support, guide healthcare professionals and provide information to enhance the quality of life for stroke survivors. They were created in 1997 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more, call 1-888-4STROKE or click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News