Maddie Finn is a young teen determined to do all she wants in life despite having been born with a critical congenital heart defect, or CHD, known as tetralogy of Fallot.


Tetralogy of Fallot affects normal blood flow through the heart and can cause a baby to turn blue. It happens when a baby’s heart does not form correctly as the baby grows and develops in the mother’s womb during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year about 1,660 babies in the United States are born with tetralogy of Fallot.


Luckily for Finn, she never turned blue. Her rare condition was discovered during an echocardiogram the day after she was born. She underwent open-heart surgery at three months of age.


“Even though I had a complete repair, I still have a leak in my pulmonary valve, causing me shortness of breath at times, and it is possible that I will need more surgery at some point,” she says.


An interesting fact about Finn is she was one of the first children in Little Rock to have a horizontal incision rather than the conventional vertical one. Her mom was the one to suggest it to her surgeon.


“She knew someday I would want a wedding gown or a pageant or prom dress, and this way it does not show,” said Finn. “If I had needed it to be a regular, vertical incision, I would have worn it loud and proud. It saved my life and is part of who I am.”


Maddie’s sister, Hannah, is an American Heart Association advocate. She said the family was told Maddie would be a “lethargic kid.”


“Despite the odds, she was, and still is, able to do all the activities of a perfectly healthy child,” Hannah wrote in a blog for the American Heart Association. “Maddie has taken dance lessons, played numerous sports and competed in pageants.”


Maddie’s dreams are at her fingertips and she’s not going to accept any limitations.


The American Heart Association
The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on
heart and brain health for all, will conduct its 2023 Central Arkansas Go Red for Women Luncheon in May with the theme “Be the Beat.” 

The signature luncheon – chaired by Dr. Anthony M. Fletcher, FAHA, an interventional cardiologist with CHI St. Vincent Cardiology and Medicine Clinic, and his wife, Dr. Paula Fletcher, a retired dentist who currently serves as health director at Shorter College – is scheduled for May 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Benton Event Center. Go Red for Women is designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women locally, nationally and globally.

Go Red for Women is nationally sponsored by CVS Health and is presented locally by platform sponsor Saline Health System. Media sponsors include B98.5 and AY About You Magazine/Arkansas Money & Politics.

Tickets for Go Red for Women are $250 and can be purchased at or by emailing


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