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Congenital Heart Defect Survivor Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Open-Heart Surgery at Falmouth Road Race

In the Community
Rachel and family at Falmouth Road Race

Earlier this month, rookie runner, Rachel Kantrowitz, finished her first Falmouth Road Race, with Tedy’s Team, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of her open-heart surgery.

“My family has been vacationing in Falmouth for years and my sister, Katie, had run the race four times already,” said Rachel. “I thought joining her this year, and fundraising for Tedy’s Team, would be the perfect way to celebrate this milestone.”

When Rachel was six years old, her pediatrician noticed an irregular heartbeat during a routine check-up. Heart murmurs were common in her family, but to be safe they ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG). The EKG helped them discover that Rachel had a hole in her heart, known as an atrial septal defect (ASD).

ASD is a type of congenital heart defect in which there is a “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart.

“If my pediatrician did not order the EKG and diagnose me when I was six, my health and life could have been at risk,” Rachel explained. “If it had gone untreated, I would have been far more susceptible to stroke later in life.”

After her diagnosis, Rachel underwent open-heart surgery to patch up the hole and has been doing well ever since.

Last Sunday, August 18, Rachel completed the Falmouth Road Race for the first time, with 47 of her Tedy’s Team teammates.

“I’m really mindful of my condition and always have it in the back of my mind,” said Rachel. “Finishing the Falmouth Road Race was a proud moment for me, and I was glad to be able to run it with Tedy’s Team.”


To learn more about ASD, visit:

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