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Lancaster County family grows stronger after learning of son's heart defect

Lauren Kramer, Flynn's mom, said she was 20 weeks pregnant when everything changed.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Kids are often tougher than we think -- including ones born with Congenital Heart Defects, known as CHD. According to the Children's Heart Foundation, a child is born with CHD in the U.S. every 15 minutes. 

A family in Lancaster County had the love and support from one another, coming together to conquer CHD. 

Lauren Kramer, Flynn's mom, said she was 20 weeks pregnant when everything changed.

"It was interesting because our first scan, they wanted us to come back," Kramer said. She said the doctors couldn't "visualize the heart." 

Going back for a second appointment, things took a lot longer. That's when Lauren and her husband Steve knew something was wrong. They soon learned that their son had a major heart defect.

Doctors told the Kramers it was too early to pinpoint exactly what was wrong. 

Lauren felt lost. Not knowing what to expect, she turned to social media for support, reaching out to other "heart moms" and to help raise awareness. 

"As a heart mom you kind of feel helpless, you see your baby going through all of this and you're kind of just along for the ride," she said. "For me, I felt the least I could do was post about our experience to put the awareness out there just for others to see what these kiddos go through... and how tough and strong they are to make it through that."

Turning devastation into positivity -- Lauren didn't know how to prepare for this new chapter in their family's life. But she wasn't alone, knowing her husband and daughter Mackenzie were by her side. 

"I'd like to give kudos to my wife because she has just been the rock of the family during all of this," Steve said. "It was especially devastating to both of us, but Lauren stayed really stoic the whole time."

What the future holds is unknown, as Flynn will undergo open heart surgeries. It's something both Steve and Lauren said they can't plan for but can only pray and put their best food forward. 

You just have to hold onto the good things, Steve said.

"I mean anything can happen and I'm sure there's little things that can get you down, but you have to focus on the big picture, especially being a dad to a child like Flynn," Steve said.

Flynn continues to grow stronger, making progress as their little heart warrior -- illustrating how a positive and loving family can help heal the heart. 

"He is such a happy baby and we're so grateful," Lauren said.

Flynn continues to have monthly doctor visits to the cardiology department, but he's a strong and mighty heart warrior. 

Lauren and Steve are grateful for Flynn's cardiac surgeon, nurses, doctors, and their family for all of their love and support. 

The Children's Heart Foundation works to advance treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of congenital heart defects by funding research. 

According to the Children's Heart Foundation, CHD patients could face health problems as they get older including growing, eating, developmental issues, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, or stroke.

Their funded research has significantly increased survival, longevity, and quality of life for CHD patients. 

According to the Children's Heart Foundation, because of funded research, there are now estimated to be between 2 and 3 million Americans living healthier lives with CHDs. 

Increasing survival rates is extremely important to the foundation, which is all made possible through research.

If you want to help raise awareness or are able to donate, you can find more information online.

The Congenital Heart Walk is a great way to get involved, the Walk Series is now in its 12th year. The 2021 Heart Walk Series will include 29 city area events in the country.

The walks are family friendly events that offer remarks, activities, and remembrance.

There's a heart walk in Philadelphia on July 31, and one in Hershey on August 1.

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