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Westchester Teen Thrives After Five Heart Surgeries

Jennifer Reilly proudly displays a proclamation from the Town of Greenburgh.
Jennifer Reilly proudly displays a proclamation from the Town of Greenburgh. Photo Credit: Provided

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Jennifer Reilly was born with a congenital heart defect that could have taken her life if not diagnosed properly.

Now, after five successful heart surgeries, the 15-year-old Hartsdale girl shares her life story to help other prospective heart patients including speaking at a Town of Greenburgh public meeting during Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week.

Reilly's five heart surgeries included two open heart, one closed heart and two catheterizations before she turned four years old.

For the past four years, she has spoken at the Greenburgh Town Board meeting, accepting a proclamation from the Town Board declaring a week in February week as Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week.

Jennifer, an honors student, was born with Tricuspid Atresia and a Ventricular Septal Defect. Her parents were unaware that the number one birth defect is a congenital heart defect. It may be hard to believe, but health experts report that one in every 100 newborns has a congenital heart defect. If you know anyone who has a child with similar medical issues, Jennifer's story could reassure them that their child could also live a happy, healthy and successful life.

Watch her presentation at a recent Town of Greenburgh public meeting by clicking here.

(Initially the microphone wasn’t working when Jennifer started talking. But a minute or so into her talk you can hear her inspiring message).

For more information about CHD Awareness week participants and activities, go here on the internet www.tchin.org/aware .

For more information about congenital heart defects and Little Hearts -- a community of people living with CHDs, click here: www.littlehearts.org .

And an earlier CBS News 88 report about Jennifer Reilly can be found by clicking here.

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