RANKIN, Texas, Oct. 10, 2023 — When the American Heart Association’s Kid Heart Challenge program kicks off in the Rankin Independent School District this week, students will be joined by 6-year-old Anson Avalos, a fearless boy who was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries, or TGA, a serious, rare heart problem in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed.

Melissa Avalos found out about her son’s heart defect during a prenatal echocardiogram in April 2017, about two months before Anson was born.

“He was born blue because oxygen wasn’t traveling throughout his body like it was supposed to,” said mom Melissa. Anson stayed in neonatal intensive care until undergoing corrective surgery about two weeks later. Anson developed narrowing in one of the arteries that was transposed, and he had a second surgery when he was 2.

“He is a normal, thriving 6-year-old now,” says his mom. “His journey changed our lives and our faith immensely.” Anson still has regular checkups with his cardiologist and has no physical limitations for now.

“We are so beyond thankful for the technology and cardiac team that helped in Anson’s heart journey,” his mom says.

Anson and other students at Rankin ISD will be raising funds through Oct. 27. Their goal is to raise $6,500. Students who raise $150 or more will get the chance to put “slime” – a temporary slimy, sticky substance – on a “mystery person” at school at the close of the campaign. The students are also racing to complete Finn’s Mission – an online competition by which students earn badges from Finn, a congenital heart survivor, and win a prize. The prize for students who complete Finn’s Mission at Rankin is a ticket to a “glow party.”

The Kids Heart Challenge™ is rooted in evidence-based science that shows that kids who are regularly active have a better chance of a healthy adulthood. In addition to improved physical health, the benefits of physical activity for children include better grades, school attendance and classroom behavior. Physical activity can also help kids feel better, improve mental health, build self-esteem, and decrease and prevent conditions such as anxiety and depression.

To get your school involved with the Kids Heart Challenge™, visit www.heart.org/getstarted .


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 


For Media Inquiries

Cyd King: M 479.263.8473; cyd.king@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org