CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Christy Cook was born, 50 years ago, her esophagus was not connected properly to her stomach.
"It took 22 surgeries to hook me up the right way," Cook tells WBTV.
It wasn't until she was 4 years old that she could really start to eat food just like the other kids her age.
Esophageal Atresia, according to the National Institutes of Health, is rare. It occurs in about one in 4,000 births.
It was years before Cook was able to meet other adult survivors of this birth defect.
"I get chills just thinking about it," she said.
Now she has started a foundation that she is calling Christy's Courage. The mission of this non-profit based here in Charlotte is to help EA/TEF clients with their specific needs for the betterment of their lives, their families and caretakers.
"I feel like I"am doing what I was meant to do," Cook said.