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Woodland Park family raising awareness for Congenital Heart Disease

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO)-- About one in every one hundred babes is born with congenital heart disease, including Winter Marvel, a two-year-old from Woodland Park.

On Friday morning Winter was woken up early dressed in her Spiderman pajamas. Early mornings aren't her favorite, but every day she wakes up a superhero.

At two years old, Winter is accustomed to being in the hospital, on oxygen, and in surgery. She's endured three open-heart surgeries.

"It's really really hard for me afterward once we're home and settled down and I have time to process it," said Rachel Sieracki, Winter's mom.

It was during her 20-week check that Sieracki says they found out something was wrong with her baby's heart.

"I found out that there was at the very least a hole in her heart and missing or tiny pulmonary arteries," said Sieracki.

Born at Children's Fetal Care Center, she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, Pulmonary Atresia with Ventricular Septal Defect, and Major Aortopulmonary Collateral Arteries. That means she has six total congenital heart defects, three of which are critical.

"Having to be vulnerable and share your story, going back through pictures that I’ve never shared that’s hard looking at all the surgeries she’s gone through," said Sieracki.

This week, Sieracki is using a social media campaign to raise awareness and money for Children's Hospital Colorado Heart Institute.

Sieracki says congenital heart disease is severely underfunded but she hopes to change that.

"They’ve made huge steps to where if Winter were born 25 years ago she probably wouldn’t be here more than likely right now, so we just want to keep that going and we want to do our part," said Sieracki.

If you would like to donate or just find out more about CHD's and Winter's story you can text "HEART" TO 801801.

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Jessica Gruenling


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