Kaylee Paperin, 10, survived early heart defects and is the...

Kaylee Paperin, 10, survived early heart defects and is the inspiration for Kaylee's Heart, an organization her family founded to raise money for the American Heart Association. Credit: Handout

When Dawn Paperin's daughter, Kaylee, was born in 2000, the East Meadow family quickly realized they had a desperately ill infant.

Kaylee was born with two congenital heart defects and underwent surgery soon after. She had a second surgery when she was 3 and is now in good health.

Dawn Paperin knows she is one of the lucky ones, and is determined to give back. The Paperin family founded Kaylee’s Heart in 2008, with a focus on raising funds for the American Heart Association. Kaylee and her parents are hosting a charity event Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale.

“We want to raise money for research so that someday somebody doesn't have to go through something like Kaylee did,” said Paperin, who credits research for the procedure that saved her daughter’s life. “If she didn’t have that surgery she wouldn’t be here today.”

Paperin is hoping to raise $10,000 at the event. The night will feature comic book artist Billy Tucci and a performance by Randy Jackson of Zebra.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at  www.advance.kayleesheart.com.

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