Olympian Shaun White's gold is an emotional win for CHD parents

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(WJRT) (2/14/2018) - Family of blue-eyed baby girl Adalyn broke down in tears as U.S. Olympian Shaun White received his medal Wednesday night.

Adalyn's mom, Heather West, said she was thinking of his parents.

"They've seen him straight out of open heart surgery, like I have. They've seen their baby covered in tubes and wires. And here he is winning a gold medal," she said. "I just can't even imagine the amount of pride they have for him in that moment, just knowing what he came from and how hard of a struggle his life was."

Shaun White reportedly has Tetralogy of Fallot, four congenital heart defects that have forced him to have three surgeries.

Adalyn was born with several defects, as well, and had to undergo open-heart surgery at just a few months old. After a long 8-month battle, she passed away last May.

Since she passed, Adalyn's parents, Russell and Heather West, have made it their mission to give back to Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, where they lived for Adalyn's short life.

They volunteer there on a regular basis and even donated several hundred of Adalyn's favorite toys to her fellow patients a few months ago.

White's Olympic win also falls during CHD Awareness Week, which runs Feb. 7 to 14. Heather said she'd like more parents to know they can ask for a Doppler ultra sound.

"It just shows the flow of the blood in the heart. So, it'll show if there is shunting or blood flowing in the wrong direction. And then, if for some reason you don't get a Doppler ultrasound, it's a requirement, as of 2014, to do a pulse ox test upon birth. It's literally a sticker that goes around their little foot and it reads the oxygen levels in their blood," she explained.

The Wests have started a fund in Adalyn's name to pay for research of her exact diagnosis. They're holding a benefit every August in Genesee County.

For more information on their fight, click on the 'Related Links' section of this story.

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