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Boy with heart condition helps raise funds for 'Heart Month'

Last Updated Feb 27, 2018 at 7:18 pm EDT

The Town of Aurora is showing everyone how generous its heart really is.

For the second year in a row, a Swiss Chalet & Harvey’s restaurant location is selling paper hearts in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s fundraising drive for February’s Heart Month. During this time, Canadians are encouraged to learn about living healthier, heart-friendly lifestyles.

“We all have a heart,” said Swiss Chalet franchise owner Joe Anselmo, who is helping with the initiative. “We are all affected with somebody that is going through something with a heart.”

Anselmo was inspired to help thanks to a little boy with a congenital heart defect, 9-year-old Owen Veloso. In the first year, their efforts raised just under $6,000.

“I always wanted to do something and give back to the community, so what better than a local boy and such a good cause,” Anselmo said.

Veloso has hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. Multiple open-heart surgeries later, he is doing well. He and his family are able to participate in activities they never imagined they would.

“To think people are giving their hard earned money to help my son and they don’t even know my family, it means so much to me,” said Laura Veloso, Owen’s mother.

Adding that the family is happy that their story is being used to raise awareness about a cause near and dear to their hearts.

To help support Owen’s fundraising efforts, visit the Heart & Stroke website.