Maryville teen to have open-heart surgery, story goes viral

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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Corey Rayfield's heart is so big its reached Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Nevada and Tijuana, Mexico.

"I didn't know that many people would care," said Rayfield.

The world's love for Rayfield grew wider from countries like Canada and even Austria.

Strangers sent well-wishes to Rayfield using the phrase, "Corey's heart is so big it's reached___." They filled in the blank spot with which city, state or country they lived in after his sister posted his story on Facebook.

"I didn't know this was going to be as big as it was, you know, I just wanted other people to show my little brother that other people care," said Ashley Conner, Rayfield's sister.

It's the life support Conner's brother with heart disease needs, as he prepares for open heart surgery in December.

Corey's mom recorded a cell phone video capturing the moment her son learned how much love is at his fingertips on his 16th birthday.

The recording showed Rayfield crying out of disbelief. The same love also brought Rayfield's brother, Ethan, to tears.

"I would give him my heart just to let him have a life and grow up to be what he wants and has a chance," said Ethan Rayfield.

Corey said he now has that chance.

"Random strangers I don't even know wanted to wish me good luck with my surgery and stuff," said Rayfield.

With every hug, every gift and get-well soon cards, it's only a matter of time before Rayfield's heart is healed..

"It will get better," said Rayfield. "I just have to live with it until it does."

Rayfield's mom, a single mother raising him and his three siblings, told Local 8 News she needs financial assistance to help pay for her son's procedure.

Loved ones told local 8 News Rayfield's mom will not be getting paid for the eight weeks she will be home with Corey during his recovery .

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