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National Pancake Day helps raise funds for children's hospitals

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Albany/HV: National Pancake Day helps raise funds for children's hospitals
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EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. -- Grab your fork, swirl that syrup, and take a bite of some delicious pancakes, each bite, motivation to help kids like 17-month-old Keaton, who was born already fighting for his life.

"They told me he had a heart defect called transposition of the great vessels, and he had the rarest form, he didn't have a hole in his heart, so we had no idea when I was pregnant," said Keaton's mom, Taryn.

At just a 1 1/2 weeks, Keaton had a heart attack, and his future is still an uphill battle.

"Nobody's ever lived through what he lived through, so they're not exactly sure," said Taryn.

But Tuesday, he was just a happy baby, stuffing his mouth full of pancakes.

It's the 10th year IHOPs are handing out stacks of pancakes with out the bill in honor of National Pancake Day, hoping customers instead will give their money to local children's hospitals, like Albany Medical, where Keaton is treated.

"Last year the amount of pancakes across the country given away stacked together would have been 17 miles high," IHOP unit manager Greg Kazcmarak said.

"It's my birthday and my husband wanted to take me out before work, we already made our donation, and now we're enjoying our pancakes," said Fran Reed.

And now Fran's birthday treat is a gift that will keep giving. In the past decade IHOP has raised more than $15 million. Some customers feel so strongly about the cause, they had to eat twice just to participate.

"She had to eat two because her older brother goes to school earlier than her, so he didn't know we were coming, and we didn't want to make him feel bad," Jennifer Hurd said.

And by coming, the Hurd family is helping to make a lot of sick kids, feel good.

"I think it's awesome people are coming out and donating, especially not knowing Keaton, it's touching, it's heartwarming," said Taryn.

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