Heart disease doesn't discriminate — Young girl talks about her battle to survive

Soon facing her third heart surgery, 12-year-old Katelyn Jones doesn’t let what she can’t control interfere with her plans.  (Amanda Kinseth/WPDE)

You wouldn’t know it from looking at the sweet, energetic 12-year-old, but Katelyn Jones is battling heart disease.

She was born with a heart defect that threatened to steal her life as a baby.

“I didn’t know that she had a problem until she was born,” said Kelly Jones, Katelyn’s mom. “They came into my hospital room with all these big machines and they proceeded to do testing on her and said that she had the condition Tetralogy of Fallot, and that she was going to be needing surgery in the first 6 months of life. She had her first open heart surgery by 6 months old.”

Katelyn had two heart surgeries by age two, and a possible third is on the horizon next summer.

“I’m a little worried,” said Katelyn. “I get really nervous when I think about it.”

“I still get up in the middle of the night to see that she’s breathing. I’m that mom,” said Kelly.

Katelyn, however, doesn’t let it slow her down. Known as the “Heart Queen” at school, she’s actively involved in events for the American Heart Association, hoping to be an inspiration to others

“Don’t let it stop you from doing something that you really really love,” said Katelyn.

The brave girl won’t let something she can’t control interfere with her plans.

“I want to live still in South Carolina,” she said. “I also want to be a lawyer.”

She’s planning for future, and future trips to Disney.

“If we go when I turn 13, I should go into the haunted house!”

The Waccamaw Heart Walk is October 21st at the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex.

For more information visit or to register, click here.

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