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Overcoming odds with rare heart disease

Miguel Octavio
Created: October 12, 2019 11:28 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Families gathered at Mayo Clinic Saturday to raise awareness on rare heart disease.

All eyes were on high school senior and ballerina-in-training Naomi Babcock at the event. 

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"I just like how when you're on stage, you can really express yourself and I love the feeling of being on stage and dancing and just kind of being free," Naomi said. "If I'm having a bad day, I'd rather just dance so it's definitely like a coping mechanism for me."

But dancing comes at a price. 

"I have hypoplastic left heart syndrome which means I only have half of a working heart," she said.

Twenty-four hours after she was born, Naomi was diagnosed with a disease that could've cost her life.

"I get tired faster than the other kids," Naomi said. "It can be hard but it's also a way for myself to be more motivated and to push myself."

Babcock and other kids with HLHS worked with Mayo Clinic staff to find solutions for the disease. The event was called Feel the Beat. 

"We rely on God and we have our faith," said Kelly Babcock, Naomi's mother.

Like other kids with the rare disease, Naomi's mother says she's had at least three surgeries. 

"It's just like a temporary fix, those three surgeries, they still have half a heart. It doesn't cure them," Kelly said. "That's what's so important about these programs [is] to do research because we're trying to figure out a way to keep these kids from having to have a transplant."

Despite the odds, Naomi keeps a positive mindset and a positive step.

"Don't not go for your dream just because you had a bad day or someone doesn't believe in you," Naomi said.

HLHS affects nearly 1,000 newborns in the U.S. each year. The cause is still unknown at this time. 


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