PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A big workout for little hearts took place on Sunday. The riders were focused, but every spin of the wheel wasn’t just about burning calories. For one mom, every pedal meant a step towards a cure for congenital heart disease.
“We could do a lot for these kids, but if we can find a cure for future generations, that’s what we want to do,” Julia Rowbotham said.
It is the goal of the third annual “Spin In” event at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Around 1,500 riders donated to the hospital’s cardiac center to take part in the event and help patients like Rowbotham’s daughter, Lily, who has hypo plastic left heart syndrome.
“The left side of her heart was underdeveloped when she was born,” Rowbotham said. “She had three open heart surgeries as a child and she comes back every six months for follow up care.”
Despite all that, Lily’s spirits are high and she spent the day cheering her mom on.
“She’s done so much for me and I want to support her,” Lily said.
Experts say one in 120 babies in the United States are born with heart disease each year.
“There are many types of congenital heart disease, it can range from mild to needing surgery,” Dr. Joseph Rossano said.
Every ride helps fund research and patient care.
Organizers have raised more than $1 million over the last three years.
“It’s a roller coaster of emotions in that room, a lot of passion, really special,” Amanda Calabrese said.