Young girl survives heart disease

Young girl survives heart disease
By: Arnold Wyrick
AVA, Ill. - When you think of heart disease, you might think of people in their 40's to 50's suffering from the disease.  Rarely do people think of young children dealing with the complications of heart disease.

But, for 7-year-old Shelby Light of Ava, she's shown her classmates that living with the disease can be easy. "Now we're doing research, and we put in a bovine valve in her, which came from a cow.  it seems to be working well.  She has no problems, she's an active girl," says Denise Light about her daughter Shelby.

Shelby had her first heart surgery when she was just 18-months-old. This past May, she had another heart surgery.

She still hasn't figured out why it's so important for her to show other children, that living with heart disease is doable.  But, she has figured out what she wants to do with her life. "I want to be a doctor.  And help people like me," says Shelby.

She and her classmates, at TRICO Elementary School spent their Tuesday afternoon jumping rope, skip-stepping and swirling hula hoops to raise money for the American Heart Association. "We want them to learn first about community service.  And also what they can do to take care of their own heart.  Kids these days have a tendency to eat fast food, and not get enough exercise," says Renee Ades of the American Heart Association.

A lack of exercise wasn't apparent in the kids during the fundraiser. For the past 2 years, TRICO schools have raised more money for research of heart disease, then any other school in southern Illinois. They're on pace this year to break their old record of $15,000.