Love, Honor and Cherish

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"When Isabella was born, we brought her home as a happy, healthy baby. Then at her first well baby check, she was one week old, we found out that she had a heart defect."

Francesca Brake, a mother of two young daughters, says her life changed when baby Isabella's heart was failing because of two holes in her tiny heart.

But, she says thanks to research and effort by the American Heart Association, Isabella is a proud model today of a healthy and happy three year old girl.

"When the physicians at Stanford completed her surgery, we either say they put a bionic heart in or they turbo charged it because she has so much energy now, we can hardly keep up with her."

Rebecca Venis also knows what it's like to struggle with heart problems.

Diagnosed at 8 years old, Rebecca learned she, too, was born with a heart defect preventing her from physical activity.

By age 28, she was ready for heart surgery and only one year later she took off running.

"The 5k heart walk is the first run I ever did. During my surgery a bunch of my co-workers got involved in the heart walk and the next year, which was the first year I was able to run, I did very well."

She actually did better than very well, she placed second in her age group.

The American Heart Association says bringing women, especially young brides, together is an important way to remind them to take charge of their life and health now... before it's too late.

"Take control of it now. Eat right, work out. Take full advantage of the life that you have because it's easier to deal with it before you have the disease than when you have the disease."

This is the 18th annual wedding event for bride-to-be's. The American Heart Association raised more than 100-thousand dollars and, they say, all proceeds from the event go directly towards research to benefit those with heart problems.

For more information go to the American Heart Association's website at