Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome is a rare form of congenital heart disease that involves the malformation of right-sided structures within the heart. It’s also a condition that Abigail King has known for her entire life.
“My parents learned of my heart defect during a prenatal ultrasound and I had my first open heart surgery before I was one month old,” she wrote in the essay that won her the $1,000 Berger and Green Heart Disease Scholarship.
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Since then, she has had two subsequent surgeries, been part of ongoing medical studies for the furtherance of heart disease care, and has many doctors’ visits under her belt. Still, none of that prepared her for what she learned in her teen years: that HRHS is not a curable disease. There is no corrective procedure.
“Not one of us is promised a tomorrow,” King wrote. “Perhaps my diagnosis has made me more acutely aware of how precious each day is.” Instead of living in fear and anxiety, Abigail King refuses to make only short-term plans. She has lofty goals and is pursuing them with passion and verve.
What the Future Holds for Abigail King
Currently an incoming student at Drexel University, King is studying Biology. Inspired by the way that medical advances in the past few decades have helped her live a long, prosperous life, she wants to pursue a career in medical research.
As King told representatives of Berger and Green, “Research is one step in discovering solutions to problems that we are currently facing.”
King has also spent some time serving in her high school’s ecology club and plans to expand her volunteer and service efforts during her time at Drexel.
Read Abigail King’s winning essay by clicking on this link.