LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Barnes family knew baby Phoenix would be born a fighter.
"Once he was born, we had to have a scheduled birth in New Orleans," said Brandi Cox, Phoenix's Great Aunt. "So we moved her to New Orleans six weeks before he was born and once he was born we realized he had seven different congenital heart defects and they're extremely rare."
When Phoenix was born, a major part of his genetic make-up was missing - his pulmonary artery.
Doctors in the Lake Area sent Phoenix to a specialist in Houston where he continued to face a number of obstacles, spending hundreds of days in the hospital.
"He was on a ventilator for months at a time," Cox said. "He was in medically induced comas, he doesn't just have these seven heart defects, he has a slew of other problems."
For the last year and a half, Phoenix's mom has been by his side through every surgery, procedure and hospital stay.
Something Tammy Andreas, founder of the Local Heart Foundation, wants for every family with a member facing congenital heart disease.
"The foundation is for people caught in the middle, working-class families who try to do their best," Andreas said. "But when heart disease or tragedy hits your family, what are you going to do? You're going to take care of your family."
Through fundraisers, Andreas says they will raise money to help families financially, emotionally and physically as these families go through a stressful time.
All proceeds raised by the foundation directly benefit local families affected by heart disease.
For more information on the Local Heart Foundation, visit www.localheartfoundation.org.