Patrick Buffaline is only 9-years-old. He was born with a congenital heart defect and went through four open heart surgeries by the age of four.
His young life has been tough, but today he’s able to do all the things he loves.
"If it wasn't for these great hospitals and nurses I wouldn't be able to do the stuff do now like snow show, eat ice cream, and have a bunch of sugar," said Buffaline.
Now Patrick wants to make sure other kids like him get the same chance. He'll help deliver handmade hats to every baby born in a local hospital in February to raise awareness of congenital heart defects.
"A whole in the heart, a valve is leaky all the way over to kids who are missing pieces of their heart anatomy or their arteries are transposed into different parts of their bodies," said American Heart Association Board of Directors Member Jennifer Corcoran Conway
The Little Hats Big Hearts campaign puts a spotlight on the startling numbers. 1 in every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect.
"To bring the care up to another level, to not let any kid slip through; to detect it early, whatever problem they might have and treat it best. That's what it's all about," Neil Devejian, Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Albany Medical Center.
It's also a celebration of life, honoring special volunteers like Patrick, who prove why the campaign is worth it.