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Walk for Awareness to raise funds to battle congenital heart defects

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By Sharon Graves

Area residents can put on their walking shoes Saturday, Feb. 7, to help raise money for children with congenital heart defects.

The Walk for Awareness begins at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church Family Life Center, 213 Main St., Owenton, and will feature shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts, inflatables for children, a silent auction and a book fair, along with entertainment.

Proceeds will benefit Kosair Children’s Hospital’s Cardiology Division and God’s Special Little Hearts, which is co-sponsoring the event with the Owen County Extension Homemakers.

“Little Hearts” is a nonprofit organization for parents of children born with congenital heart defects. Money raised helps families pay expenses incurred when a child is hospitalized or must undergo surgery – expenses like meals, gasoline and hotel stays.

Cassidy Clifton’s family is one of many who have been helped by God’s Special Little Hearts. The 9-month-old daughter of Jessica and Michael Clifton of Carrollton, already has had two surgeries at Kosair in Louisville – the first when she was 4 days old and the second Dec. 3.

Jessica Clifton explained that Cassidy’s heart has one chamber, rather than the four chambers found in a normal heart. Also, the arteries that carry the blood to and from her heart are on the opposite sides they should be, and surgeons are hoping to fix these problems.

Jessica said Cassidy will need one more surgery in a year or so.

“Cassidy’s heart won’t be like ours, but it will work for her,” Jessica said.  “She will tire out easier than other children, but she will still be able to play, even if she can’t keep up as well.”

Jessica, who also has a son, Ethan, 3, said she and her husband are grateful for the help they have received from the organization. “They do help families a lot. They have given us gas and food cards, and helped pay for hotels when Cassidy has had surgery.”

To sign up to participate in the walk, or for information about donating to “Little Hearts,” call members Cydney Conley at (502) 732-4289 or Chas Robbins at (502) 682-3889.

Conley said the group would like to have a similar walk next year in Carroll County, but have not found a location.

Anyone wishing to volunteer time for the project or offer a place to have it, may contact her at the number above.