RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A Rio Rancho boy who lost his sister to a rare heart defect is raising money to help make sure other families don’t have to go through the same thing. Klayton Defrees is raising money for the American Heart Association.

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His sister Kayley was born with a rare heart defect. She suffered a stroke during open-heart surgery and died when she was just two months old. Defrees says he’s raising money with the hope of a breakthrough in the research.

“When my sister Kayley passed away, that research, they couldn’t save her, right? But I’m able to get those donations to be able to save people like Kayley,” says Klayton. ” That just fills me up with so much joy and happiness that I”m able to help people.”

They’ve already raised more than $25,000 through various fundraisers and are hoping to reach $50,000 by Thursday.