American Heart Association unites 'little heart heroes'
SACO (WGME) -- The American Heart Association united survivors of heart defects and their families at Maine's third annual Little Heart Hero Day in Saco.
The pint-sized heroes sported bright red capes with their names on the back.
According to the organization, congenital heart defects are the leading birth defect in Maine.
Sunday's event included low-key activities for the kids to participate in, but was really aimed at connecting families to help provide a network of support for one another.
"Sometimes you might need that parent to be like, 'You know, I just need someone to vent to that knows what I'm going through,'" said Gretchen Keyes, whose son, Connor, 3, was born with a heart defect. "And we're here. We're a big family. We're really supportive and we're just here for everybody."
According to the AHA, 25 percent of babies born with a heart defect will need surgery or other treatment to survive, but more are surviving thanks to advances in research.