When Adia Green and her two sons attend the 2019 Greater Milwaukee Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Run later this month, they'll celebrate not one but two of their family members’ lives.
Adia as well as her younger son, Aidan, who is now one year old, had serious heart conditions that required numerous surgeries; however, both are now healthy, active and ready to walk for the cause.
The American Heart Association-sponsored walk / run is 1-3 miles long and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Veterans Park starting at 10 a.m. More than a million people will participate nationwide.
The mission of the walk is to raise money for stroke and heart patients like Adia. So far, the organization has raised $1,006,800 of its 1,750,000 goal. The money is used to ensure more healthy hearts for Americans of all ages. To register or donate please go here.
In 1981, Adia was born six weeks early, but her condition seemed stable other than having symptoms of a common cold. However, when these symptoms didn’t go away with medicine and medical care, a cardiac catheterization confirmed that her heart was not functioning properly.
Adia was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect that causes oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and into the rest of the body. Thus, for the first four years of her life she had a multitude of doctors appointments and numerous cardiac catheters to monitor her heart.
"My parents were instructed to keep me calm and to not allow me to overexert my heart," says Adia. "Squatting for better air flow with blue tinted lips and eyes became part of my norm."
Adia's parents and her cardiologist waited as long as they could to operate, hoping her condition would improve, but unfortunately, it got worse.
On Aug. 27, 1985, Adia underwent open-heart surgery. The procedure was a success, and she went on to live a healthy childhood and adult life without medicine. She even participated in sports without any problems.
When Adia was 25 she got pregnant with her first child. At first, she worried that she would pass on her heart defect, but she found out early in her pregnancy that she was carrying a healthy baby boy.
"Coming from an era where survival was low, I am so thankful for the American Heart Association for providing funding for research and technological advancements that have increased survival rates and made it easier for congenital heart defects to be detected – even in utero," says Adia.
In 2017, Adia became pregnant with her second son and her fear returned.
"I was terrified, but also hopeful that I would beat the odds again and deliver a child without complications or heart defects," she says.
Sadly, her second son, Aidan, inherited her heart condition and was diagnosed with Congenital Pulmonary Atresia with a presence of Major Aortopulmonary Collateral Artery (MAPCA). At 8 days old he underwent his first open-heart surgery.
"They said he could be admitted for at least six weeks, but my little fireball came home in five days," says Adia.
Aidan had another heart surgery at four months old and once again defied the doctors' projections by only staying hospitalized for days instead of weeks.
Today, Aidan is a healthy little boy and has the same cardiologist as Aida, Dr. Salil Ginde. Aidan will have a third surgery in the near future, but Adia is confident it will be another successful procedure.
"If you didn’t know better, you would never know that Aidan has a heart condition. His spirit is always upbeat and infectious when he plays," says Adia. "After his third and final surgery, I know that he will have a survival story just like his mom."
For more information about – or to register – for the 2019 Greater Milwaukee Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Run, go here.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.