EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHEART RESEARCH
from Eyewitness News Online
Heart Research Helps Young Girl To Survive
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Heath Harrison
Reported: Feb. 24, 2013 10:57 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 24, 2013 11:03 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Heart defects and heart disease affect even the tiniest of hearts, but research and awareness continues to help save lives.
Bethany Gentry was a little more than halfway through her pregnancy when an ultrasound detected a heart defect with her daughter Sophie.
"My husband and I were devastated, and couldn't think of anything worse we probably could have heard that day, other than that her heart was not perfect," Bethany Gentry said.
"She had a single ventricle heart defect, called tri-cuspid atrecia,” Bethany Gentry said. “It just means that her tri-cuspid valve didn't form and, because of that, her right ventricle didn't form."
Just two weeks after birth, Sophie had her first heart surgery, but still couldn't do things most other babies could, like bottle feed, or even cry, because she was so weak.
Things changed after her second surgery at six months.
"She was a lot healthier. She started eating again by herself,” Bethany Gentry said. "We didn't have to tube feed her, and she started growing better and doing much better."
She had her last surgery about three years ago, and today, she's just like any other seven-year-old.
"We always tell her she's a tough cookie, because she's been through so much and she's just been so strong and happy through it all," Bethany Gentry said.
Sophie has joined other survivors to walk the red carpet at St. Mary's Go Red for Women luncheon each February. She also shares her story through the American Heart Association.
Surgeries that have saved Sophie's life wouldn't be around if it wasn't for the money that people contribute to help research for new surgeries and techniques.
She's even played basketball the last two years.
"She can run up and down the court and keep up with every other child," Bethany Gentry said. "She's just doing awesome. She's our miracle for sure.”
To find out more about heart disease and ways to prevent it, visit www.heart.org.
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