This year's Heart Walk dedicated to 2 year old with half a heart - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

This year's Heart Walk dedicated to 2 year old with half a heart

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By: Sabrina Ahmed
SAhmed@klkntv.com 

Doctors told one young Lincoln mom that her daughter wouldn't make it a few days, let alone two years. Now, Zoe Groff is being called the Heart Princess by the American Heart Association, because she's a fighter and is determined to make it through.

Zoe Groff was born with half a heart, but that doesn't stop her from being a sweet child full of love.  She still gives her mom kisses and hugs, just like any other kid.  Time and time again, surgery after surgery, her mom, Lacey Groff was told Zoe wouldn't make it.

"She just kept defying the odds and kept proving to everyone that, 'I can do this and I will get through this next step,' and then there would be another hurdle and she's get right through that," Lacey said.

But the fight hasn't been an easy one for the family, and this is just the beginning.

"Zoe does have alternate plans sometimes and we just have to go with that and deal with and we've actually become a stronger family and just become stronger as a group because of it," Lacey said.

The American Heart Association has named her the Heart Princess for her struggles, and she was the poster child at Saturday's Heart Walk.

But Zoe's case is just one of the many the Heart Association wants to bring attention to.  One in four deaths in America is because of some type of heart disease, and 80 percent of those are preventable.

"If you can eat healthy and exercise, you can control a lot of your destiny," the Vice President of the American Heart Association said.

Jason Fredenburg's father died from heart failure in 2004, and the walk is a way for him to teach his family about staying active and living a healthy lifestyle.

"I think it's important that they understand the importance of supporting people that have problems like heart failure," Fredenburg said.

No matter the reason people were there, the main point was raising awareness.  For heart disease.  For Zoe.

There were about 2,000 people at the heart walk Saturday, despite the dreary weather in the morning.  The American Heart Association raised $150,000 for research.

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