Toddler who survived open heart surgery to participate in Saturday's Heart Walk

This weekend, the American Heart Association is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Heart Walk.

The organization is hoping for 20,000 people at Target Field and among those who will be in the crowd will be survivors and loved ones walking in memory of one another.

A boy named Nolan will be one of them.

Nearly two years old and full of life, the Nolan you see today was not a given.

“At our 20-week ultrasound, they found multiple defects in his heart, holes in his heart,” said Nolan’s mom Heather. “They sent us off to the U of M for a higher level ultrasound to confirm what was going on.”

Doctors watched him carefully following his birth and, thankfully, he avoided open heart surgery as an infant.

“He kind of grew out of everything on his own,” Heather added. “Holes closed on their own, aorta opened to where it should be. We have a couple of things to keep an eye on, but we have a yearly echo instead of twice a year.”

Now, Heather and Scott Ferguson want to make sure they are supporting the next baby like Nolan. They’ll participate in the Heart Walk for the second year in a row with about 60 friends and family in tow.

“We’re in a position now where we can help and do our part to help,” Scott said. “We just hope his story can give some hope to families who are going through what we went through.”

The walk is Saturday at Target Field. Gates open at 7 a.m. and the walk is at 9:30 a.m.

It’s a free event, but donations are encouraged. There is a health fair with some activities, including CPR training.