Young heart disease survivor to lead Lehigh Valley Heart Walk


To see him running through a corn maze on Raub's Farm in Palmer Township, you would never know 4-year-old Jude Solderich from Allentown spent his first year of life in and out of the hospital.

"At one point we didn't know if he would make it to 1," said Jude's mother, Natalie Solderich.

Natalie and Joseph Solderich found out their baby boy had a severe case of congenital heart disease when Natalie was just 20 weeks pregnant.

Jude had heart surgery shortly after he was born and did well, but then at about three months old his heart started to fail. He was placed on a transplant list.

"It was a very emotional time and it still is just seeing him run around and being a normal 4-year-old," Natalie said.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.

"His heart started to remold which they couldn't quite understand what was going on," she said.

Fast forward, and Jude was eventually removed from that transplant list.

"He is now 4 years old and is on no medication, and his own heart that he was born with, and he's doing extremely well," Natalie said.

Jude's doing so well that he's now leading the Lehigh Valley Heart Walk next month. He'll be at the front of the pack as the community walks through the corn maze in the shape of the American Heart Association's logo, a new spin on the annual fundraiser.

"It's going to be fun," Jude said.

"A lot of people believe that a heart condition or heart attack is always with older people and with Jude, people need to know they could be a baby or an infant or a small child, it could be any age," said Joseph Solderich, Jude's father.

The Lehigh Valley Heart Walk is not only a fundraiser but also an event aimed at bringing the community together to raise awareness.

"The money funds so many wonderful programs out there as they continue to do great research for treatment," said Tony DaRe, Heart Walk chairperson.

"I am amazed and blessed for all the people that cared for him and care for him, so we're very fortunate and lucky," said Joseph Solderich.

The Lehigh Valley Heart Walk is Sunday, September 15 on Raub's Farm.