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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – February is heart month. It’s the perfect time to raise awareness for pediatric congenital heart disease.

Dr. Peter Manning is a heart surgeon with St. Louis Children’s Hospital along with one of his tiny heart patients, four-month-old Caleb and his mom, Lauren.

In the United States, twice as many children die from congenital heart defects each year than from all forms of childhood cancer combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD. A CHD means a child is born with an abnormally structured heart and/or large vessels. Such hearts may have incomplete or missing parts, may be put together the wrong way, may have holes between chamber partitions or may have narrow or leaky valves or narrow vessels.

Through 2013, the Missouri Children’s Heart Foundation has contributed an astounding $6.1 million toward 58 revolutionary CHD research studies. In the last decade death rates for congenital heart defects have declined by almost 30 percent due to advances made through research.