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Woman who has survived 5 heart surgeries celebrates chance to tell her story

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Updated: 10/31/2013 4:34 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- According to the American Heart Association, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 39 seconds.

The AHA’s annual fundraising walk is this weekend, and many survivors will be participating.

One local mom has had quite a fight. Melanie Baldwin went through several surgeries and a scary incident this summer. For Baldwin, a heart is something you don't take for granted.

Born with a birth defect, Baldwin has had open heart surgery 5 times. She got her first mechanical valve when she was 19. Today, she has a pacemaker but earlier this year, she had trouble again.

“I suffered a cardiac arrest in June of this year,” Baldwin said. “My husband had to come to my aid, thank goodness. After eight days in ICU, it was a rough go. I was knocked out for three days.”

Baldwin's fight is not something everyone can make it through.

“To go through all the surgeries, cardiac arrests, she's an amazing woman,” said cardiologist Dr. Scott MacDonald.

That tenacity isn't taken for granted. As an advocate for the American Heart Association, she's heard stories that don't have happy endings.

“A sudden cardiac event and they're gone. And they're not around to tell their tale,” said Baldwin. “So we have to do it for them.

Baldwin vows to do just that for a while -- as long as she stays heart healthy.

“Right now I feel pretty good. I’ll be 50 next year, and I’ll be here to see it. And I thank everyone for the support,” Baldwin said.

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