ATLANTA — Doctors overlooked Dana Jones', a caregiver at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, heart murmur when she was a baby. That murmur then progressed into a scare that would cause her to fight for her life.
Now, Jones uses her story to comfort young heart warriors at Children's through their battles.
"I like to show them my scar. I just try to really bring to light the good parts," said Jones
When doctors discovered her heart murmur, a pediatrician told her parents "it'll go away" leaving them not to worry.
The irregular sound coming from Jones' heart, turned out to be an early sign of congenital heart disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control, about 25% of babies with a CHD have a critical form of it.
Her diagnosis set the stage for a lifelong passion in cardiology.
Two days after graduating high school, Jones started college to pursue a career as a diagnostic cardiac sonographer.
"I can guarantee you I'm going to work my hardest to make sure that I am checking out every part of your heart, investigating everything in your child's heart," she said.
As a sonographer, Jones takes images of the heart to help doctors and surgeons know exactly what they need before they operate on patients.
But, Jones still fought her battles with her condition even while helping younger victims of heart disorders.
"I actually almost passed away when my daughter was born in 2007," she shared.
Her condition seemed to be under control until one day while treating patients, a pain in her arm urged her to use the ultrasound to take a closer look. When she placed the probe on her chest, she found a massive aneurysm.
"So it was one of those things where as a sonographer, I can handle it, right? I've got it. I know exactly what we're doing. If there's an emergency, I got you. But when I was on the other side of it, I kind of felt numb," Jones said.
Soon she found herself fighting for her life and in need of emergency open heart surgery. Jones admits recovery was difficult, but it's that lifelong resilience she now turns to as she treats younger families and children at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"Some of these kids, they come in struggling to breathe and they're really not feeling well. And I know once they're repaired, their quality of life will improve," said Jones.
While living with congenital heart disease brings challenges, Jones said those moments and her continued urge to help ultimately gives her strength to show up every day for families.
"I feel like I have been put where I was supposed to be," she told 11Alive.
Jones feels like she has a purpose to help others and wants to continue to for people that share the same battles as her.