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Families touched by heart disease raise awareness on the ice rink

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - February is Heart Health Month and with good reason. Cardiovascular disease is the underlying cause in one of every three deaths in the United States.

Two families have joined the same team to fight for heart health on the hockey rink. Fox 2’s Bonita Cornute has the story of a dedicated mother-daughter foursome who wants everyone to live with a strong heart.

Thanks to multiple surgeries for congenital birth defects, 11-year-old Hailey Norman is able to skate and play and hockey like any other youngster.

“I didn’t think she’d be a normal kid, I really thought that we’d have so many medical setbacks, delays,” said Heather Norman, Hailey’s mother. “But to see her playing ice hockey now is just amazing to me.”

The situation is reversed for 11-year-old Kylie Smith, however, who watched her mother suffer cardiac arrest when she was a toddler.

“I struggle, I won’t lie. It was quite a long and tough route. But having a three-year-old at the time gave me the will and the want to get better,” said Mary Smith, Kylie’s mother.

The two families understand the importance of—and are passionate about—spreading the word on recognizing the warning signs for cardiac trouble.

While volunteering with the American Heart Association last year, the families discovered the girls’ shared interest in hockey, leading them to launch the Red Out at the Rink campaign last year.

The Go Red at the Rink campaign continues through the end of February.

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