ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Six-year-old Gabe Greenberg was born with two congenital heart defects, but it does not stop him from making a difference, raising awareness about heart disease.

“We have tried to encourage him to embrace that because it is always going to be a part of him,” Melissa Greenberg, Gabe’s mother, said. “Whether he wants it to be or not, he can not make it go away.”

Gabe is this year’s hero at the annual Heart Run and Walk 5K hosted by the American Heart Association.

“So many great stories out here,” Mike Greenberg, Gabe’s father, said. “For Gabe to be chosen among all those stories is truly an honor.”

Their goal is to raise $600,000 for research done right here in the Capital Region, helping thousands nationwide in treating and preventing the leading cause of death among adults in the country. The American Heart Association funds over $1.5 million in local research.

“It is great to have so many wonderful research centers here, but it really affects everyone” Executive Director Amy Young said.

The Greenberg family uses their own story to bring awareness to so many with heart disease.

“We use his story to help spread the word, help spread awareness,” Greenberg said. “It is almost like we are given a torch and we have to run with that torch, then pass along that torch to other great stories.”