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Young aspiring skater meets Olympic hero

Julia Wisser recognizes American figure skater Ashley Wagner through a video chat call. (WCHS/WVAH)

Nine-year-old Julia Wisser spends most of her free time gliding on the ice at the South Charleston Memorial Ice Arena. It's difficult to tell the hardships she has been through watching the ease of her skating.

Wisser was born with a rare heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. Her mother Amanda Wisser said doctors found out when she was just two days old.

"All of a sudden the doctors tell me she is not going home," Amanda Wisser said. "They said you are going to Morgantown. She has a hole in her heart."

Those shocking words started a journey for her family. At her age, Julia has had two open heart surgeries. Her mother said it is a condition she will have to live with her entire life.

"She will just have to keep up with her appointments and always keep an eye on it."

After one trip to Disney on Ice, Amanda Wisser said Julia was ready to take to the ice herself.

"She saw the princesses and she started to ask me to learn to ice skate. I started to see flyers around town about learning to skate. So I decided to finally sign her up."

Julia laced up her skates, and the first rehearsal turned into a four years and counting of lessons and competition skating. Julia recently competed for the first time, and won a gold medal. Her mother said the ice is where Julia feels comfortable, and her biggest idol is Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner.

Wagner caught word of Julia's story through an organization called Casey Cares. The foundation works to lift the spirits of anyone affect by childhood illness. Organizers contacted the American figure skater to set up a Skype interview. Wagner jumped at the chance to meet Julia, and invited her to the upcoming Stars on Ice show in Pittsburgh with a personal meet and greet.

"Ashley Wagner!," Julia yelled as the spoke to Wagner over video chat.

Julia and Amanda Wisser will travel to Pittsburgh Friday to see the show and meet the figure skater in person.

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