Thomasville, NC -- She refused to accept defeat, and since March 16, 2012 Charlie Hudson has been fighting the good fight - a fight to stay alive.
No, she's not a soldier on the front lines, but rather a little girl just down the street in Thomasville who her parents have dubbed their little "heart warrior."
"She's been through more than any of us can image," said her dad, Jonathan Hudson.
Charlie is barely 6 months old, but has already lived a storied life.
"She's my hero. I can't imagine an adult going through what she's going through," mom, Nicole Hudson added.
Just 20 weeks before their only child was born, the Hudsons found out baby Charlie had a congenital heart defect. It's a condition that doesn't allow enough blood flow to her heart.
"Me and my husband were just very scared, we didn't know what to do," said Nicole.
As a father, Jonathan felt burdened - not necessarily by his daughter's condition but by the feeling of helplessness.
"As a husband I feel my main duty is to take care of my family, and I couldn't do anything. There was nothing I could do," he said.
Charlie had open heart surgery just hours after birth. Doctors had to remove a blockage in her aortic valve - a process that took a toll on the little girl and her family.
"It was such an emotional, draining experience the first time. Physically, emotionally, i mean you were in the hospital 24/7," said Nicole.
Healing came fast; but that was causing more problems for the little girl.
The scar tissue was blocking blood flow and called for another surgery two months later.
"You literally watch your daughter be rolled down a long hallway, knowing that she might not come back. It's the most emotional thing that I never wish on any parent," Charlie's mother said.
The then 3-month-old fought hard and won. The procedures left visual reminders, but Charlie now wears those battle scars proudly.
"Every morning she wakes up, stretches and smiles at me, and it's just like 'I can't believe we went through everything and you're able to be here,'" said mom.
The Hudsons don't know what the future holds for their daughter, but they aren't giving up --- after all Charlie is their brave little heart warrior.
"She'll always be my little girl, and it just makes her that much more special to me," Jonathan added.
The Hudsons say they are sharing their daughter's story in hopes of saving lives. They want to get the word out that prenatal screening is how they caught Charlie's heart defect.
For new and expectant mother's, they urge you to remind your doctors to pay close attention.
Also, September 29th is world heart day - be sure to remember Charlie and kids like her fighting the good fight.
WFMY News 2