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Advocate Spotlight: Mandy Forkner

My name is Mandy Forkner. I have two reasons why I wanted to get involved with the AHA and they were born 8 years ago; my sons Tommy and Travis.

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The hospital did a pulse oximetry test on my son Tommy but not on my son Travis because Travis's apgar score was better than Tommy's at the time. However, Travis was the one who was born with a congenital heart defect.

Sadly, we lost Travis when he was only 6 weeks old. A short time later our daughter, Kylie, started having some health issues so we took her to our family doctor who decided to send us onto a pediatric cardiologist. Kylie was later diagnosed with SVT and a bicuspid aortic valve. She later underwent different surgeries and procedures to help correct her congenital heart defect. Kylie is unfortunately once again having trouble with her CHD. In addition to CHDs, my family is also impacted by a genetic connective tissue disorder, Marfan syndrome. This tissue disorder effects my husband, Adam and two of our children, Tommy and Abbie. My husband has been put through two open heart surgeries and now has a mechanical valve.

Our family is definitely a “heart family.” We would love for there to be a cure for CHDs so there are no more heart families but just happy families.

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