Eastern Panhandle of WV

Living with Congenital Heart Disease

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Meet Alisha Puller, who was born with a heart defect, but has remained positive throughout her entire life. She is a local resident of Charles Town, WV and
currently works in the area.

After birth, Alisha’s parents were advised that their sweet baby girl had Congenital Heart Disease. A day later, this newborn baby was flown to Children’s Hospital to undergo surgery. It didn’t stop there. A few months later, an open heart surgery was performed promising only a 17% chance of surviving.

Miraculously, Alisha survived and is able to tell her story today. Living with her condition, Alisha was unable to participate in physical activities. She certainly missed this as a child, but did the best she could to overcome it. Alisha quotes, “I couldn’t run like the other children as it could’ve affected my heart causing serious complications. Alisha laughs stating, “I didn’t have to run the dreaded mile during the physical challenge at school which was at a major advantage”.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014), each year, approximately 40,000 infants are born with Congenital Heart Disease.
Even though the cause of it is unknown, some researchers have found that women who are diabetic, obese, or smoke during pregnancy has a greater chance of having a baby born with a heart defect.

Despite the complications that took place during her childhood, Alisha has not allowed this disease to affect her future. She continues to see her heart doctor and takes the necessary steps to live a healthy lifestyle. She currently holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in General Studies and is pursing a Masters Degree in Public Administration. Her plans are to work at a non-profit organization in hopes of starting her own one day.

On April 24, 2015, Alisha took a stand in spreading awareness by attending the Congenital Heart Disease Walk in the Wheaton Park in MD. They were able to successfully raise over $85,000 which will go towards further research and education. She is forever grateful for her family and her church for their love and support. Kudos to Alisha for not allowing a minor setback to affect her dreams and aspirations. She is truly an inspiration. In Alisha’s words, “keep pushing and never give up”.

Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle