Sophie Gentry has been involved with the American Heart Association for many years. She shares her story for American Heart Month and hopes you’ll join her in supporting our mission in the Mountain State.
My name is Sophie Gentry and I am 17 years old. When my mom was about 22 weeks into her pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed that I had tricuspid atresia. This meant that my heart did not have a right ventricle, or pumping chamber. I had my first open heart surgery at 2 weeks old, my second at 6 months and my last one when I was 4.
Since my last surgery, the Fontan procedure, I have been blessed to be really healthy. I have been able to live a happy, active life. I played basketball throughout elementary school and loved riding my bike and doing gymnastics when I was younger. The last several summers, I spent my time swimming. My family likes to take our boat to the lake and I love to go tubing!
I have been able to be involved with the American Heart Association since I was very young. I served as an honorary chair for the Huntington Heart Walk and got to be in several Go Red For Women campaigns, including a TV spot on WCHS TV 8 this year. I have been glad to show that it’s possible to live a great, active life, even with a serious heart diagnosis. Hopefully, parents of kids born with a congenital heart defect like mine, will be encouraged by my story.
Last summer, I found out that my liver has damage as a complication of my Fontan surgery. This is, unfortunately, common for kids who have undergone the Fontan. Because of this, I will need to undergo frequent liver and cardiac testing. I go back to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in a few weeks for testing and consultations with my doctors. I will most likely be looking at more surgery in the future, but I have a lot of faith. I am trusting God to get me through whatever comes my way.
Kevin is the Communications Director for West Virginia and Western Virginia. When not in the office, Kevin is an active performer with the State 35 Comedy Troupe and is the founding member of the Ghostbusters – WV Division fundraising team. He has been with the organization since 2005.