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Mark Horton is battling a rare heart condition he's had since age 17, he's now 29 and it is getting worse. Ken Amaro, First Coast News

HILLIARD, FL-- Mark Horton has in so many words been given a death sentence; he looks healthy but he is not.

"I'm scared of dying at thirty years old," he said.

Horton,29, is battling a rare heart condition he's had since he seventeen and it is getting worse.

"The doctor that diagnosed me he literally told me there's usually only two ways we find what you have that's accident or autopsy,"said Horton.

Horton says it is commonly called hokum and needs valve replacement surgery soon,very soon.

"I said within three to six months if I do not get this surgery can I die?" said Horton," he said yes I can."

His cardiologist has found a surgeon who is willing and ready to perform the surgery but there's the issue of who is going to pay for it, Horton has no insurance.

"I don't have the money," he said," not even close."

Horton said three years ago he applied for Social Security Disability benefits and was denied twice. He said he's now asking for a hearing to plead his case.

"I just want my fair day, I just want to be able to prove my case," said Horton,", I'm not asking for special treatment, I'm not asking for someone to send me a check or something."

Barbara Horton ,his mother, said it has been stressful.

"If he can get on disability he can get medicaid and get the funds together," she said.

Horton said a lot of prayers have kept them focused. Horton said they were told it may take as much as 18 months before they get a hearing date.

"As a parent reading this and knowing that there's a strong possibility that if he had a hearing he could have this fixed," she said," is what makes it stressful.

The family believes that the surgery will cost about $100-thousand but they're not asking anyone to send them money.

"I would love to be able to come up with $100,000 cash in hand and say could you help us now," she said.

They say what they want is a hearing to prove his disability and not a hearing date 18 months from now.

"You hear all the time I don't want to die because I haven't lived," he said," I haven't really lived."

The Social Security disability programs are now a big part of the Federal Budget. Only individuals who can prove their disability and meet the medical criteria can get help.

We provided the Horton's concerns to the Social Security Administration office in Atlanta, which covers the southeast. Privacy laws prevent them from discussing the specifics of a case, but they plan to address Horton's concerns.

"We will contact Mr. Horton and provide assistance," said Patti Patterson.

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