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Woman born with congenital heart defect shares her story in hopes you'll take care of your heart

Dr. Lauren Evanovich had two open heart surgeries by the age of 24. Now she advocates for women's heart health with the American Heart Association.

TAMPA, Fla. — You may have heard before it's important to "know your numbers" when it comes to heart health. So do you? 

For one woman, it's been something she's had to know her entire life. 

This Heart Month she's sharing her story in hopes you'll take away just how important it is to take care of your heart.

Dr. Lauren Evanovich was born with a congenital heart defect and at just 10 months old had her first open-heart surgery. 

"Growing up it just meant that I went to the doctor more than other people and sometimes I had more limitations than my peer group."

She didn't expect to have another surgery until she was in her 40s or 50s. But at 24-years-old, she had her second. 

"My aortic valve stopped working and it was deteriorating. So we knew I was going to have to have that replaced."

Now, almost 8 years later, Lauren and her husband are expecting their first child in May. Something she thought may not be possible. 

"This is something that we were not sure, as someone who has a congenital heart defect if I'd be able to even have children, if my heart would be able to handle the pressure and the extra blood volume and all of those extra things."

Her heart journey has led her to be a long-time American Heart Association Volunteer. She wants women to know their numbers to be proactive against heart disease.

"Especially as women, we don't always take care of ourselves, so just to know what your numbers are is going to help you live a really long wonderful life."

Feb. 26 is the Annual Go Red for Women Luncheon, of course, this year it's virtual. 10 Tampa Bay's Allison Kropff be emceeing for the 5th year in a row. 

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