Raleigh, N.C. — Looking at 4-year-old Max Bridgers running and playing with his brother Del, it is hard to imagine the challenges he’s had in his short life.

Max’s mother knew during her pregnancy he would face a life of medical hurdles.

“We knew at 17 weeks that there could be something wrong with his heart,” said Max’s mother, Sarah Bridgers. “I said, ‘What’s that chance that he’ll need some kind of operation after he’s born?’ And he said, ‘100 percent.'”

Max has a rare form of Down Syndrome. He was born with two holes in his heart and a defect in his heart valve.

“Scary. Very scary,” Sarah Bridgers said. “And kind of devastating because you’re expecting a healthy baby. We come from healthy genes.”

“We feel like we were young, and we were trying to do it at an early age so that we wouldn’t have to go through any of these complications,” said Max’s dad, Brian Bridgers.

Faced with mounting medical bills and heart surgery on the horizon, Sarah started looking everywhere for financial help.

“I Googled and searched through websites thinking there has got to be something that helps people that are over the poverty line but that still have a lot of medical expenses,” she said.

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