Saturday Heart Walk Features 2-Year Old Survivor - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Saturday Heart Walk Features 2-Year Old Survivor

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Two-year old Connor Helgens isn't just going to Saturday's Waterloo Heart Walk. Connor is the Guest of Honor. Connor Helgens is the 2010 Cedar Valley honored heart disease survivor; and what a brave little survivor Connor is for his parents, Laura and Jason Helgens of Cedar Falls.

Connor's Mom, Laura, says, "We have been directly affected by a congenital heart defect, and Connor is truly a survivor in all sense. Connor had three surgeries. He had his first one when he was 6-days old. He was missing his pulmonary artery and valve, and he had a hole between his ventricles."

Jason, a teacher at Turkey Valley High School, remembers what the heart specialist told them, "When the surgeon told us, his quote was ‘We're gonna hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.' At that moment, I was heartbroken, because I wasn't prepared to let him go yet."

At one point, it got even worse, says Lauren. "He ended up coding, and, he crashed, and they had to do CPR on him for 45 minutes. We were in the hospital for three months,"

The Helgens' have a great support system, says Jason: "Tons of praying. From, not just us, but from family, friends; we had a lot of support while we were down there. Besides the two of us being in the hospital with him, we had a lot of family that stayed down there with us, to get us through it. "He was pretty special to begin with, just cause he was the first child, grandchild on both sides. And, now from everything he's gone through and what we've gone through, it's pretty amazing." 

‘Cruisin For Connor' will be one of the catch phrases for Saturday's Waterloo Heart walk at George Wyth State Park.

Jason says, "Obviously, a lot of people around the area have been affected by heart disease, many different forms. For everybody who comes out, you're supporting a great cause. So, we look forward to seeing a lot of people out there."

Lauren and Jason have been through so much already, and now, they are doing what they can to help other families through Saturday's Waterloo Heart Walk. Says Lauren, "We just want to bring awareness to this, and help in anyway we can to help funding, because we know how important it is. We're excited to take part in the Heart Walk and whatever else we can do to bring awareness and funding."

For more information about the Waterloo Heart Walk Saturday, May 15 at George Wyth State Park, contact the Midwest Division of the American Heart Association by phone at 319-352-4825 or you can contact them online at:: www.waterlooiaheartwalk.org.

Online Reporter: Ron Steele  rsteele@kwwl.com 

 

 

 

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