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October 14, 2012

Whole-hearted support

PLATTSBURGH — Six-month-old Gavin McCann may not be ready to take his first steps just yet, but he and other heart disease survivors inspired about 1,500 people to stride many miles on the U.S. Oval Saturday for the 2012 My Heart, My Life Heart Walk.

The American Heart Association’s annual fundraiser aims to raise money and awareness necessary to battle both heart disease and stroke, while highlighting survivors’ stories like Gavin.

As the 2012 Heart Hero, his battle with heart disease started before he was even born.

McCann’s mother, Erin Terry, of Morrisonville, along with about 30 family members, walked as part of Team Gavin in support of his courageous fight.

Terry found out 32 weeks into her pregnancy that her baby was suffering from critical pulmonary stenosis, a tricuspid valve defect and an enlarged ventricle.

“I was just trying to figure out why this happened, if it was something I did or if there was something that I could have done to prevent it,” she said. “We were angry, frustrated and worried.”

Eight hours after McCann was born, doctors put a balloon stint in the newborn’s heart and prepared the family for the best and worst

outcomes.

“He ended up doing better than the best-case scenario. He’s a fighter. He was released from the hospital

before I was,” Terry said. “They said he would be out in seven to 14 days and he was out in three.”

The family was all smiles as McCann was passed around for one loving hug after another following the walk — which he completed in his stroller.

“We are just happy to be here. We are fortunate because listening to people talk today there are just so many stories that don’t have happy endings,” Terry smiled. “It just goes to show you how many good people are in this community.”

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