Englewood teen makes a difference during American Heart Month

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It is American Heart Month, and an Englewood teenager is really making a difference by sharing the story of her heart condition.

“My heart is actually on the right side of my body, and when I was born I also had a hole in my heart,” said 18-year-old Sofia Montoya, a senior at Englewood High School.

She was born with Holt-Oram Syndrome.

She needed open heart surgery at just five months old. She needed a pacemaker at age 7 and another pacemaker surgery at age 14.

She needed surgery on her intestines, and wasn’t able to eat food until she was 3. Plus, she was born with just four fingers on her right hand.

“It was actually my show-and-tell at kindergarten, where I would show off my four fingers and just tell everyone about it,” she said.

Health challenges don’t hold Sofia back

Sofia found a confidence and a purpose in her medical challenges, and none of it has held her back. She’s very active at school. She’s in the marching band. She’s a member of the Future Business Leaders of America.

She’s ranked #10 in her class, and she just had an interview with Stanford University.

And now she works with the American Heart Association, sharing her story with others. “When I was growing up there was no one else like me that had four fingers, a hole in their heart, had gone through open heart surgery. There was no one I could relate to,”  she said.

Sofia hopes her life can show other heart patients, especially young ones, what is possible. “I’m hoping that other people can see there’s hope, that they are not alone, and that they can get through this,” she said.