Boy's love of sharks gains attention while battling heart disease

A boy's love of sharks is getting some major attention as he battles heart disease, and even caught the eye of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy in Chatham, Massachusetts.

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The child, named Finn, is from Virginia, and was born with heart disease, leading to him spending a lot of time in hospitals and undergoing a lot of surgeries.

Finn's been fighting for his entire life, and his name seems to fit his personality.

"We've named him Finn, and it means warrior,” Finn's mother Kelly said.

As his fight continues, Finn was able to meet his heroes on Cape Cod.

"We flew in from Virginia yesterday to visit the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, because we wanted to come here for three years now," Finn's mother said. "It's been a dream."

The moment has been a dream, as Finn's mother found out while pregnant that her son had heart disease, and needed to stay in the hospital after birth.

"He'd been in there for a long time, and have multiple surgeries, including an open heart surgery," Finn's mother said.

On the road to recovery, Finn found a new love of sharks.

"We found out when he was 3 months old, he really loved watching sharks on TV," Finn's mother said.

Finn's parents rolled with the situation, dressing Finn up as a scuba diver and having sand brought in while he was in the hospital fighting the disease.

Through the power of social media, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy heard about Finn's story.

"The AWSC teamed up with Discovery Channel," Finn's mother said. "They tagged and named a shark for him. In his honor, because he was in the hospital fighting heart disease."

Finn hadn't been well enough to make the trip, until now. After a second open heart surgery a few months ago, the family was able to fly and make the trip to celebrate Shark Week in the best way possible.

Finn's celebration had anything you could imagine, whether it was riding a boat with his family looking for great white sharks to visiting the Chatham Shark Center. Most importantly, he got to meet his shark heroes for the first time.

"I got the greatest big hug from him, which was wonderful," Cynthia Wigren, CEO of the AWSC, said. "It's been really exciting for us to connect with so many people. We love the passion people have for sharks."

Finn has a scar on his heart from his surgery, but has a unique excuse he likes to share for the mark: a shark got him. Luckily, the scar doesn't scare Finn one bit.

"He's obviously very happy, and we are very grateful," Finn's mother said. "The life that he has now gives us opportunity to come here and thank them. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is an awesome team. I encourage people to donate to their organization and show people that sharks aren't scary. They actually turn out to be little kids' heroes."

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