PHOENIX - Friday is National Wear Red Day, dedicated to raising awareness for heart disease, the No. 1 killer of men and women.
Although some of us may have healthy hearts, there are others who constantly need treatment or are waiting for a transplant.
"I was in the hospital a long time when I was young," said 25-year-old Alex Zabaski.
Zabaski is familiar with Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH). It's where he spent a lot of his childhood after being born with a complex heart condition.
"He has a very congenital heart defect," said Dr. John Nigro at PCH, one of Zabaski's doctors. "We can do great things with surgery, but we can’t cure it. So they live with the heart defects throughout life."
Zabaski has had more than 20 surgeries, three of which were open-heart.
"When you're there on the operating table," said Zabaski, "and there’s a buzz saw waiting on the table and you know that for the next 20 minutes that’s going to go in your chest. Then you pause and you’re basically getting knocked out. It’s still scary. It's still terrifying, but you just have to live with it."
Zabaskidoes his part to eat healthy and work out frequently.
At this point, he may undergo more surgeries, but doctors say he may not need a transplant.
"Heart transplants are a great therapy, said Dr. Nigro, "and we use it very aggressively because we agree that it involves a great quality of life, but I think in Alex’s case, he is far away from needing a heart transplant. We’ve got other technology that can help him."
On this National Wear Red Day, it’s important to spread awareness, especially for those like Zabaski who already have a huge heart.