Monday, February 7, 2011

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness

While I may take care of mainly healthy kids now, I will always consider myself a pediatric cardiology nurse at heart, no pun intended. For the first 5+ years of my nursing career, I worked at one of the premier Pediatric Cardiology facilcities, and cared for many precious families affected by congenital heart disease. I loved my little blue, out of rhythm heart babies! I learned so much from these incredible children and their amazing families! It was truly an honor to be a part of so many of their lives. In honor of these families, I am linking up with Bekima Knits to help raise funds and awareness for these patients and their families. See her post below, and visit the links she provides. But first, here are a few of my favorite memories:)

... that Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) are the most common birth defect in America, affecting approximately one in one hundred, or 40,000 newborns each year?

... CHDs are responsible for one third of all birth defect-related deaths and sadly 20 percent of children who make it through birth will not survive past their first birthday.

... that although a child is born every 15 minutes with a CHD, research continues to be grossly under-funded in America.

... of every dollar the government spends on medical funding, only a fraction of a penny is directed toward congenital heart defect research.

What is a Congenital Heart Defect? A CHD means a child is born with an abnormally structured heart and/or large vessels. Such hearts may have incomplete or missing parts, may be put together the wrong way, may have holes between chamber partitions or may have narrow or leaky valves or narrow vessels.


I have come to know and follow, in the blogging world, some really great families (especially the mamas) and heart babies. Some, are no longer here on this earth with us, and some are living very wonderful and fulfilling lives here, even with their bandaged hearts. I hope to never have to endure what these children and families have and continue to go through, but peacefully realize that if I am ever placed in their shoes, I will have the BEST support group. These people are courageous, bare-to-the-bone, hopeful, faith-filled, all-loving, raw, emotional, loving, and totally real. And they make me cry and laugh and hope and dream...sometimes all in the same blog post.

I have so much admiration for these children and families and that is what I feel like I'm being called to help. Why do parents sometimes not find out there child has a CHD until after it's too late? Why aren't there 'sure' surgeries, since this is the MOST COMMON birth defect in America? Why isn't this getting the supporting funding it needs to find solutions to such a huge problem?

In honor and memory of all the children living and lost from CHD's, bekima knits' helping hearts will be donating 20% off every sale, now thru everyone's 'Heart Day' - February 14th.

Bekima's helping hearts fundraiser will help benefit, The Children's Heart Foundation, whom's goal is to bring health, hope and happiness to children impacted by congenital heart defects, the number one birth defect in the United States. They accomplish this goal by funding the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital heart defects. And also, Bless Her Heart, an organization founded after their daughter, Taryn, unexpectedly passed away from 2 CHDs. Bless Her Heart is dedicated to promoting congenital heart defect awareness to families at the earliest opportunity possible, and all donations are used to maintain the website and for printing and distribution of CHD awareness pamphlets to various organizations, businesses, and doctors’ offices.

The Children's Heart Foundation is the country’s leading organization solely committed to CHD research funding, and dedicates itself to bringing health, hope and happiness to children and families impacted by a CHD. CHF has funded over $4.1 million of vital, life-saving CHD research since its inception, which includes approximately $400,000 in 2010.

I LOVE the work that both of these foundations have taken on, especially Bless Her Heart for bringing this birth defect into awareness before these children are born. Before hearing and reading of these families and babies, I would have had no idea that this devasting defect even had a place on this earth. God has definitely stuck this in front of me for a reason, and this is what is being called to me at the moment, and there may be more in the future. All in His plan...and I'm sure there will be more and all for a reason. And what better timing than our unofficial 'Heart Month'!! If anyone else is interested in more CHD events and fundraisers, check out this site for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, which runs Feb 7-14, 2011.

I pray and hope that we can make a difference, and I know we can!!! I also have some super special knits that I would love to be able to give both parents that have lost children due to CHD's and also children that are living with their CHD's. Parents and/or friends and family...please email me and let me know about you and your child, and you will have a special gift from bekima knits at your doorstep soon. It's just a bit of what I can do to offer some comfort and joy to those most in need.

Feel free to copy and paste to help spread the word!

Shop HERE to help hat at a time.

And as always, feel free to donate directly to either/both of these foundations. I can only imagine the benefits that these donations will bring the future of CHD technologies and awareness.

"For nothing is impossible with God" ~Luke 1:37

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