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Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week: Athens 10-year-old prevailing through multiple heart defects

Bella Winters is awaiting a new heart after 4 open heart surgeries and 11 other procedures.
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 2:32 PM CDT
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published February 12, 2021 at 6:08 PM CST on waff.com)

ATHENS, Ala. (Great Health Divide) - February 7-14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week! One in 100 people are born with a CHD and it is the most common birth defect in the U.S.

When you look at 10-year-old Bella Winters from Athens, you would never know she lives with 9 congenital heart defects.

Bella has had 4 open heart surgeries along with 11 other procedures. She is now awaiting a new heart.

“I’m kind of nervous, but I’m really excited because I can like, do a lot more things,” Bella said.

Bella doesn’t let her heart health get in the way of being your average 10-year-old. Bella is a girl scout, dancer, artist, and aspiring equestrian who loves animals.

“Trixie my horse has really been my therapy for when like I have my surgeries and stuff,” Bella said.

Bella takes part in the Huntsville Heart Walk every year.

Stephanie Cline from the American Heart Association says Bella is a prime example of how many babies with CHD can live longer, healthier lives thanks to medical advances.

“Bella herself is such a strong strong young lady. To be 10-years-old, to be on the heart transplant list, she has really prevailed in every way possible,” Cline said.

Bella has big plans for the future…

“When I grow up I said I might be like a doctor for like people with the same heart problems,” Bella said.

Bella was asked what she has to say to other kids with the same conditions.

“There’s just a lot of things that we can do - I just think of things that I can do not things that I can’t,” Bella said.

Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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