TYLER (KYTX) - A Tyler family is using it's personal battle to help others.
Terence and Laura Thedford's son is one of hundreds of thousands in the United States born with congenital heart disease.
The family is now educating other local families dealing with the same disease.
2-year-old Thomas Thedford was born with only half of a working heart.
"The whole left side of his heart didn't form so he's going to have to have three open heart surgeries. He's had two already. His first one was at 4 days old or so, and the second was 6 months. He's got another one scheduled at three years old," his dad Terence said.
Terence and Laura said the process was nerve racking they felt isolated as they learned how to deal with their son's congenital heart disease. So they immediately looked for guidance in East Texas.
"We quickly found out it was only going to be Dallas referrals," Terence said.
So they formed Amazing Little Hearts - a local organization that joins about 15 families dealing with the same hardship, so they will never have to deal with CHD alone.
"When you get the diagnosis it's just devastating and what these people did is they gave me hope," said mother Salem Novak. She was the first to join the local group. At the time she was pregnant with her son, stark, now 7 months old.
"It has made the world of difference. It really has because you see these children and there's such quality of life, and hope, and there's no words for that," she said.
5-year-old CHD patient, Sydney McGlothlin's parents agree.
"When we found out about her, it was honestly like a nightmare," her mother Lindsay McGlothlin said.
She remembers the first time she saw another child older than Sydney, with CHD.
"I saw this kid running around. I was just like, wow. She's going to be ok. I just had that overwhelming sigh of everything is going to be okay," she said through tears.
The group of families turning crisis into hope, wants you to know. if you're in their boat, they can help.
To get involved, or just for questions, head to the group's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/amazinglittlehearts
Or if you want more information, click: www.congenitalsurgerycenter.com