Health

Missouri woman born with congenital heart defect seeks to help others

Carlie Crain is a student, a softball player, a daughter, a sister and a friend. She is also a congenital heart defect survivor. 

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defects, affecting 1 in 110 babies. Even with these stats, when Callie Crain was told at her 20-week ultrasound that her daughter would be born with a congenital heart defect, it was a shock. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Missouri, taking the lives of over 14,000 Missourians each year. Each month, #NoMOHeartDisease focuses on a different heart disease survivor from Missouri to increase awareness and reduce the prevalence of heart disease in Missouri. August's featured survivor is Carlie Crain of Bolivar, Missouri.

By the time Carlie Crain was 3 ½, she had endured three open heart surgeries. Carlie is now a vibrant and energetic 20-year-old. As a result of her condition, Carlie's heart has to pump twice as hard, she tires easily and suffers from migraines. But Carlie doesn't let her heart defect distract her from her goal of one day working in a maternal fetal medicine office. 

Carlie is currently studying radiology at Southwest Baptist University. As a radiography student, Carlie plans to one day be there to help guide families through the ultrasound portion of pregnancy. She hopes her experience will help her help parents who have a child that is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Of her determination, Carlie said, "Because I have this [congenital heart defect], I am called to go and do what I've experienced and to spread that compassion that God has given me through this." 

Callie Crain commented of her daughter's drive to do for others, "She has such a presence about her and a joy and a such a kindness that I think that it will be really nice and comforting when a mom and a dad are told that [their child has a congenital heart defect] this is what is going to happen, this is what they are going to be faced with, and I think it will be really special." 

Unfortunately, Carlie is not the only Crain with a heart condition. Carlie's younger brother, Case, was also born with a congenital heart defect. Case wears his heart scar like a badge of honor and often wonders why he and Carlie get one and their sister Camden doesn't. 

Though the Crains don't know exactly what the future holds for Carlie and Case--it may be a heart transplant or more surgeries--they know that they face it together as a family.

In addition to being featured in #NoMOHeartDisease, Carlie will be the featured survivor at the Springfield Go Red for Women Luncheon on September 19, 2019. You can purchase tickets to the event at heart.org/SpringfieldMOGoRed
  
You can learn more about Carlie, as well as other Missourians affected by heart disease and stroke, at heart.org/nomoheartdisease
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