February is here and with it comes Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, and of course heart month. In the past decade, we have talked to a number of organizations that focus on the heart. For good reason, one out of for deaths each year is from heart disease. The translation is that over 659,000 people die in the United alone each year from heart disease. These are not just statistics but real people. To visualize this number that is over six huge football stadiums full of people each year. One person every 36 seconds, not to mention the 40,000 children will be born with congenital heart disease this year. So what do we do when are our hearts are broken?
Luckily for us, there are a multitude of amazing organizations working tirelessly to solve and tend to this problem. I thought before the month jumped into high gear we could take a moment to revisit some of the great organizations we have met who are working to reduce those numbers. Some of these go back so far that I felt like I was looking at old friends, I hope you feel the same.
Hopeful Hearts Foundation
A decade ago we talked to the Chez family about their organization, The Hopeful Hearts Foundation. The Chez family had three children all born with Congenital Heart Disease. Tragically they lost their daughter Gracie suddenly at the age of three and created the Hopeful Hearts Foundation in 2008 to keep her memory alive and to help other children suffering from CHD. The Hopeful Hearts Foundation supports families whose children have CHD and also raises funds to provide research for Congenital Heart Disease.
Camp Del Corazon
Some of you may remember Lisa Knight, a registered nurse and nonprofit founder of Camp Del Corazon. The camp is a place for children with heart-related health challenges to have fun, make friends and find fellow children going through similar health issues.
Lisa said, ” I get so filled up by it all. These kids have survived death, there are no camps for these types of kids due to their medical conditions. It transforms them. You see them show each other their scars. The most rewarding thing is when you hear children call you by your camp name when you see them years later not at camp. This year our first camper is coming back as a counselor, so to see not only these children grow up and give back but to watch my own 29-year-old daughter getting even more involved as she takes on more responsibility with her role at Camp del Corazon, is so rewarding. “
In 2017, we talked to our friends the Page family about their experience with Congenital Heart Disease in our post The Heart of the Matter. In that conversation, we learned about Max Page’s support of the organization Mended Hearts. A nonprofit that was created in 1951 to give peer support to those dealing with heart disease. Dr. Harken asked four of the first four people to ever have open heart surgery to help others facing the same experience. In 2004, Mended Hearts realized that families with children suffering from CHD also needed that same peer-to-peer support and created Mended Little Hearts.
There are hundreds of organizations working tirelessly to do research to cure Congenital Heart Disease. These are just a few of the amazing people working to heal broken hearts. Next week we will continue our look back with Francie Paul from Saving Tiny Hearts in our podcast. I’m so excited to share our conversation about the incredible work she and her team have been doing to help find a cure. Until then, wishing you all a wonderful heart month full of love.
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