DENISON, Tex. (KXII) A Texoma 12-year-old girl is using her experience with Congenital Heart Disease to spread awareness.
"My mom said whenever she found out I had CHD, she never knew it existed."
Congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect in America.
But many may not know what that term means.
"It's actually very sad because you want that awareness. It's not just for me."
According to the Children's Heart Foundation, CHD is when the heart or blood vessels near the heart don't develop normally before birth.
It affects nearly 200,000 babies a year and more than 3,600 in Texas alone.
"It's made me have a lot of restrictions. From P.E., recess, playing with my friends."
Alexis Brown, a Denison 12-year-old, was born with CHD and has two holes in heart.
When she was born, doctors told her she needed a procedure on her heart valve a surgery only recently made possible.
"If I was born 20 years before my birthday, 2005, they would not have been able to save me. But the research they have done and have accomplished makes it possible."
Today, Brown has undergone 13 surgeries.
Her goal is to show other people that they too can recover from open heart surgery.
That's why she volunteers at area hospitals speaking to patients scheduled to undergo surgery.
"I'm proud of Alexis for wanting to bring awareness to CHD and to wanting to help other kids and maybe finding a cure."
Doctors have cleared brown for the rest of 2018, meaning she will not need surgery or any more procedures this year.