By Molly Rosenblatt

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A local teenager is in the fight of her life.

Fifteen-year-old Ashlyn has congenital heart disease. She’s already had five open heart surgeries, and now a heart transplant is her last hope.

But while she might have a wounded heart, it’s full of love and, even after everything she’s been through, Ashlyn remains good spirits.

“I just go through everything and everyone helps I guess,” she said Tuesday.

Ashlyn loves to paint and cook, with the Food Network in the background.

“I like to cook savory things instead of baking,” she said. “There’s too much work in baking. You have to do everything, you have to measure and be precise and I just like throwing everything in there.”

It’s been a long road for the teenager.

She’s spent months in the hospital, with a 24-hour IV for heart meds.

She’s also had to endure numerous doctors visits.

“There are scary things,” she said, “and you don’t want to hear them.”

And it’s been scary for her parents, too.

Her mother, Angie, has had to take a leave of absence from work for the last several months for Ashyln’s multiple hospitalizations.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “Nobody wants to see their baby hurt and nobody wants to hear the only way we can save your baby is with a heart transplant.”

She hopes Ashlyn can someday run again, have energy and live a full life.

If you’d like to help, Ashlyn’s Army is holding a fundraising benefit to offset the family’s medical costs.

It’s Saturday at the White Bear Lake Armory from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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