Roanoke community showing its heart for toddler battling heart defect

Cartee salon to hold fundraiser Feb. 14 and 15

ROANOKE, Va. – Fifteen-month-old Avery Wexler looks like your typical happy, healthy toddler but it’s what you can’t see that makes him unique.

“He has a complex heart defect. He’s got a single ventricle. So he has already had two open heart surgeries within the first year of life," Avery’s mother, Brooke Wexler, said. “He will need at least one more, if not a possible transplant in the future. He’s had heart catheterizations, he’s had multiple blood transfusions.”

10 News first shared Avery’s story with you in February 2019 while reporting on the American Heart Association’s program to knit red hats to raise awareness about congenital heart defects.

About 40,000 babies are born each year in the U.S. with a defect.

As part of heart month and congenital heart defect awareness week, Cartee Salon in Roanoke will donate 60% of all the proceeds from dry bar appointments on Feb. 14 and 15 to the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association.

“That’s the whole point of this. You want to help your child and others," Wexler said.

Salon owner Tammy Fitzgerald said this was her daughter’s idea.

“Sarah and Brooke have been friends for a long time and she has been a strong advocate for various fundraising ideas, just to help Brooke and her son and other children," said Fitzgerald.

Since word has gotten out, people have started booking appointments to be part of the salon's potentially life-saving effort.

“Because Brooke and her family are so special to us, obviously it makes it sweeter," Fitzgerald said.

A community proving to have a big heart for a little boy whose heart needs all the help it can get.

You can donate to the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association here.