MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – One in 100 children are born with a heart defect.

Here in the Twin Cities, those families are fortunate to have access to some of the best pediatric surgeons who can help their children have a bright future.

One of those kids is Julia!

Julia was born with a heart defect. Now, the 8-year-old who doesn’t remember much of her stay in the hospital is helping make others’ stays unforgettable.

Julia doesn’t remember her time in the hospital, but for mom it’s hard to forget.

“It’s amazing that she came from this tiny little sick baby to a healthy third grader,” Julia’s mother said.

Julia was born with a heart defect.

“We like to say a special heart,” Julia’s mom said.

She had heart surgery at just 7-weeks old.

“She had some complications, so she spent 110 days here at Children’s,” Julia’s mom said.

Looking at Julia now, you’d never know it. But she does have to get a new pacemaker every few years.

“She has a slower underlying heartrate, so it kicks in to keep her heart rate going fast enough to be able to keep up with her friends,” Julia’s mom said.

It’s a good thing because this third grader is a busy one! In between dance, softball, choir and Girl Scouts she somehow still finds the time to help the place that helped her.

Every year her family takes part in Children’s Heartbeat 5000 5k.

“We’ve raised over $40,000,” Julia’s mom said.

All to help other families with special hearts, until maybe she’s fixing them herself. Julia wants to be a doctor when she grows up so she can help others, and for another reason, too.

“Cause my parents say if I’m a doctor I’ll make a lot of money,” Julia said.

Of course, she’ll probably give a big chunk of that money back as well.

Julia is also collecting Christmas gifts to deliver to kids spending the holiday in the hospital.

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