Community gathers for walk to raise awareness for congenital heart disease

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Many community members turned out Saturday at Craig Ranch Regional Park for the 18th annual “Walk with the Heart of a Child” event.

Its goal is to raise funds to support children who are born with congenital heart disease (CHD).

Hundreds gathered to show their support for the cause, making up for last year’s canceled event.

Many walked with one mission in mind: to help make sure every child born with a heart defect has a fighting chance to live.

It also honored the little warriors that are no longer with us.

Jasmin Garcia lost her baby girl at six months old due to seven different heart defects.

“So the first time after birth, I was able to bring her home for a good two months and then we went back for her second surgery,” Garcia explained. “She lasted another month and a half in the hospital, and I just wasn’t able to bring her home with me.”

Garcia still finds strength to support other families struggling with similar experiences.

“It’s her memory and just to be able to make a change for everybody else,” Garcia said.

Studies show that one in 100 children are born with CHD.

Elizabeth Hurton’s son had to have open heart surgery at just five hours old.

“With every single heart beat, your child is fighting for their life,” Hurton said.

Her son, Eli, is now 7-years-old and living a healthy life.

For some, the journey with this disease may never end.

“[With] Henderson, [it] was very difficult to know how much he’s going to have to put up with. There’s multiple surgeries down the road, but he takes it like a champ, like the other kids do,” said Tom Petcit, a parent of a child with CHD.

The walk was MC’d 8 News Now Meteorologist Sherry Swensk and had 67 participating teams.

The families that take part in this walk all have their own battle with the disease, and know they are not alone in this difficult fight.

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