Meet Griffin in Chicago

Updated:Feb 8,2013

Griffin N KWHMy name is Griffin and I am 5 years old. I love to play with my cousins and go on trips. My favorite place to go is Disney World! I really like to play sports, too. I am in a gymnastics class where I love to jump and run. I am in preschool this year, and I can’t wait to start kindergarten next year!

When I was four, I had open heart surgery because I have a congenital heart defect called Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA). My aorta was pinched closed almost completely and blood couldn’t get through. Luckily, my doctor looked at my blood pressure during my regular checkup, where he discovered that my blood pressure was almost twice what it should be. The surgeons took great care of me and my follow-up appointments have been very good!

My heart defect is usually found in babies when their moms are still pregnant with them. Then their hearts can be fixed as soon as they are born. If my doctor hadn’t discovered my problem when he did, I would have been very, very sick. Now, I can do anything that any other healthy child is able to do…the sky is the limit! I know that I am going to take care of myself by making heart-healthy choices for the rest of my life.

The American Heart Association helps to teach people how to be smart with their hearts. Sometimes you can’t prevent problems, like with my brother and me. But sometimes people can have bad habits that can hurt their hearts. The AHA helps with both of these problems by raising money to help kids like me and raising money to educate people in keeping their working hearts healthy!”