One in every 100 children born in the United States is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, and a group of local moms is spreading the word and sharing amazing stories of survival.
Some children hovered around an art table Tuesday, looking healthy as can be, but they were among the more than 40,000 born each year with a broken heart.
"If you see our children, you would never know what they've been through. You would never know that they're living with half a heart or that they've gone through multiple open heart surgeries, because it's not visible," said mother Catherine Clinkscales.
What better time than the week of Valentine's Day to raise awareness of congenital heart defects and celebrate the fact that 85 percent of these children are able to go on to live healthy lives.
"When I think back on seven years ago, when we didn't have options for these children, that would be a tough job. Today, it's been a blessing, and you can see all the little blessings running around here," said Dr. Tom Doyle, with Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
Nadia Dabit is one of those miracles. For six months after birth, she was attached to a machine that acted as her heart.
"Without it, Nadia wouldn't have survived," said her mother, Suha Dabit. "It saved her life."
A little more than a week ago, the girl got her own heart. It was a bittersweet moment made possible when one life ended and her's finally began.
Gov. Bill Haslam and Mayor Karl Dean have both proclaimed this Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.
As of last year, every newborn in the state of Tennessee is tested for heart defects.
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