5-year-old Baldwin County boy is Face of Heart Child Survivor

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BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Grady McMillan is an active 5-year-old boy who loves the outdoors.

“I like fishin’,” said Grady during a Zoom interview with WKRG News 5’s Rose Ann Haven.

He also likes to “drop bombs” on the baseball field. When asked how long he’s been playing the sport, he replied, “A bunch.”

His parents describe their son as being “full of life,” but when Grady was just a month old, they feared for his life. During a Well Baby visit, his pediatrician told them, “I hear something. We’re gonna send him to a cardiologist,” said Jody McMillan, Grady’s father.

Specialists diagnosed Grady with Ebstein Anomaly, a rare heart defect. “Basically his valves are kind of offset. It’s not quite right. They said he also had a hole in his heart too. That’s when the news hit us that he has a complicated heart condition and so of course it’ll bring you to your knees.” Jody said.

Five days after his first birthday, Grady underwent open-heart surgery in Birmingham. “He started walking two days after we got home from him having open-heart,” said Tara McMillan, Grady’s mother. He may need follow-up surgery in the future, but his parents are very hopeful and grateful for medical advances supported by the American Heart Association, which has helped them and so many others facing life-threatening heart issues.

“Ours was scary, but there’s a lot of others who have it way worse than us, and we’re just thankful there’s an organization out there watching out for us.”

Grady will be recognized as the Face of Heart Child Survivor at the Baldwin Art for Heart Gala in September.

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