ETX woman advocates heart health after heart surgeries and strok - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX woman advocates heart health after heart surgeries and stroke

It's American Heart Month, and for one East Texas woman, she feels inspired to bring awareness to others by sharing her story of survival and beating the odds.

By the time Ashley Brown was fourteen, she had two open heart surgeries. Doctors told her she would not be able to have children, but she proved them wrong.

Brown is now a mother of two. "I'm happy to be walking, and I can take care of my kids. I'm pretty much back to what I was doing before so; I'm very happy," says Brown.

But it wasn't easy for Ashley to get here.

"I've had two open heart surgeries; the first one was when I was five. I had a mitral valve replacement and then when I was 14 it was replaced again," says Brown.

That was just the beginning. During her second pregnancy, Brown had a stroke, forcing doctors to take Benjamin by C-section. Just nine days later, Benjamin had to have open heart surgery, too.

"They let me see him once in the little plastic thing they have him in. I got to touch him and hold his hand and then they flew him to Dallas and I didn't get to see him until he was a month old," says Brown.   

Brown was fully paralyzed on her left side, and doctors told her she would never walk again, but Brown beat the odds once again, just a few weeks after therapy.

"It was not only depression from being paralyzed but postpartum, and then my baby gets taken away. I don't know how I made it through, honestly," says Brown. 

Now, Ashley wants to bring awareness to people.

"People don't think that young people can have heart issues, or have anything wrong with them. They say, 'that doesn't happen to you until you're old,'" says Brown. 

Ashley Brown will share her story and help bring awareness to spotting strokes this weekend at the Tyler Heart Ball.

The Ball is February 23rd at 6:00 p.m. It will be at Villa Di Felicita in Tyler.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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