Mother of first-grader with CHD seeks to raise disease awareness

Heart defects are the most common birth defects. One out of every 100 babies is born with one.

It's one of the messages coming out of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.

Thanks to research and medical advances, many of these children can now lead both healthy and long lives.

During the summer, Bridget Robinson says she spends every Saturday racing go-karts.

That may be hard to believe when you consider the 12-year-old girl from Hamlin was born with a congenital heart defect and her mom had no idea what her future would be.

'It's called hypo-plastic left heart syndrome,' said Bridget. 'It's also called HLHS, which means I only have the left side of my heart.'

Bridget is doing well. But it's been a difficult journey from the beginning.

'She was turning blue,' said her mother, Chelsey Robinson. 'She really wasn't crying all that much, [she was] sleeping more than a newborn would sleep, and she was not eating.'

Chelsey Robinson remembers learning her newborn suffered from a congenital heart defect.

'You feel cheated,' she said. 'You don't know if you're going to bring your baby home.'

Bridget has had three open heart surgeries and last summer doctors inserted a pacemaker.

'Just because I have a scar, doesn't mean I'm not a normal kid,' said Bridget. 'I may not be able to do stuff like other kids, but I'm still a normal kid.'

Both mom and daughter hope their story inspires and raises awareness of congenital heart defects.

'No matter who you are, you probably know somebody with a CHD or whether or not it's just an adult with heart problems,' said Robinson. 'Research and funding are needed for people young and old.'
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