MRA cheerleader named heart hero - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

MRA cheerleader named heart hero

MADISON COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Madison Ridgeland Academy has teamed up with the American Heart Association to bring awareness to the importance of having a healthy heart. And that partnership means quite a bit to one MRA cheerleader. 

Football players are all too often referred to as stars and heroes. But at Madison Ridgeland Academy, there is one hero who has risen above all others. 

"She was born with a heart defect, a hole in her heart when she was three months old and has gone all her life with tests," said Robin Smith, Darbi Grace Smith's mother. 

MRA cheerleader and track athlete Darbi Grace Smith has lived with a heart defect her entire life. After learning of her amazing story, the American Heart Association, along with MRA named her the school's heart hero. 

"They found a hole in my heart, I think when I was three months old and they found a coarctation after that and they watched it and did some tests. I had a couple of surgeries and recently this year they thought I was gonna have open heart surgery, but as of right now I'm not having one," said Darbi. 

"She has some limits she can't lift she can't run long distance but other than that she's good," said mom Robin Smith. 

Darbi Grace's story helped bring awareness to the importance of heart disease as MRA conducted a red out event at last weekend's home football game, encouraging those to help in the fight of the number one killer of all Americans. 

 "We have two survivors here at MRA. We have Darbi Grace Smith and a teacher, Miss. Robinson and they're both heart disease survivors and have different heart defects…just thankful they're willing to share their story and lend their story to help support our organization and raise awareness here at the school," said Katherine Bryant with the American Heart Association.

Darbi Grace says,"It was really great, it will be really memorable when I get older…I really appreciated it and others will too that go through this."

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