Tampa boy thriving despite rare heart condition

Heart Disease

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Christine Soto calls her son, 2-year-old MJ, her miracle baby.

It took her years to get pregnant. Then, 24 weeks into her pregnancy, she received some awful news.

“When the doctors came in, it wasn’t just one, it was like 8 of them. And I was like something’s wrong,” Soto recalled.

She was told her unborn baby had a serious heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. It’s a rare condition caused by a combination of heart defects and results in oxygen poor blood. Soto knew her son would need surgery soon after he was born.

At 5 months, doctors performed the first open-heart surgery on MJ. He faired well but it’s a lifelong condition that will require at least one more surgery.

That scares Soto.

“It’s really, really hard because you never know, especially going into a heart appointment, you never know what’s going to happen,” she said.

For now, MJ’s prognosis is good. He will need another heart surgery in a year or two but his mom is just grateful her miracle baby is doing as well as he is.

News Channel 8 is gearing up for this year’s Heart Walk on Nov. 9 at Raymond James Stadium. We hope you will take a moment to join our team and donate. You can do so by clicking here.

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