Local girl overcomes 2 heart defects to qualify for State Track Meet

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-Bree Sponhouse was born with two holes in her heart.

“I like to say they patched up my heart,” Bree said.

She had two congenital heart defects… an atrial septal defect (ASD) and a ventricular septal defect (VSD).

“These holes in the heart take blood flow from one side of the heart to the other. This creates extra work for the heart. So if the holes were never corrected, the heart would continue to overwork,” said Smitha Bullock, MD, pediatric cardiologist at Norton Children’s Institute, affiliated with UdeL’s School of Medicine.

At just four years old, Bree underwent open-heart surgery at Norton’s Children’s Hospital.

“It was probably the hardest day of my life…because I had to stay strong for her, not show her that I was scared,” her mother Paula Renner said.

Prior to her surgery, Bree’s heart condition kept her from being active.

“When other kids her age were running around and playing, she was the one who had to sit down and take breaks,” Paula said.

Now 11 years old, she runs on the track… makes her one of the fastest kids her age in the state!

“I really didn’t think I would ever be here on a track, I knew I was fast but I didn’t think I would ever be here. I’m really proud of myself actually,” Bree said.

Bree won the fastest Kid in Bowling Green Race at WKU last month and is a member of the South Warren Middle School track team.

This weekend, she will participate in the Middle School State Track Meet in Louisville.

“She has one of those stories that is so rewarding,” Dr. Bullock said.

And his advice to anyone overcoming an obstacle in life?

“As long as you focus on things, anything is possible,” Bree said.

I wish Bree good luck this weekend at State!