Photo of Katherine Schroeder, age 13

Katherine Schroeder, age 13

Perseverance is tough. Persevering with a good attitude is even tougher. That’s what makes Katherine Schroeder so remarkable.

Katherine is only 13, but has undergone 15 surgeries or other procedures on her heart, with more on the way. In March, she’s scheduled to have two heart valves replaced. She faces a lifetime of medical interventions to keep her heart running properly, yet her focus is elsewhere – such as finding opportunities to help other children with heart problems.

“I try to put them at ease and help them understand there’s a way to get through it,” she said.

Katherine began sharing her story in fourth grade, after her principal asked her to help promote the school’s Jump Rope For Heart fundraiser to benefit the American Heart Association’s lifesaving research and education. They made a video of her story and soon Katherine was getting involved with heart-related activities at other nearby schools, in addition to community Heart Walks and Heart Balls.

These days, she’s a frequent speaker and fundraiser. She makes and sells lanyards and bracelets and operates neighborhood lemonade stands, encouraging everyone to support the American Heart Association, the organization that is leading the fight against heart disease through research, education, programs and more.

“I love being able to raise money to help find new technology that can help people live a longer life,” she said. “I feel like I’m not only doing something good for myself, but also others in the community.”