Monday, February 02, 2009
Help Bring Awareness To CHDs
CHD stands for Congenital Heart Defect and is an anomaly of the heart that is present at birth and causes one or more portions of the heart to develop abnormally. Heart defects originate in the early part of pregnancy when the heart is forming and can affect any of the different parts or functions of the heart.
There are currently 35 distinct CHDs recognized and 1 in 85 babies in the United States alone are affected by any one of them. A few defects include half of the heart to be severely undeveloped, a hole in the heart, missing arteries going to the heart ,or arteries going to the heart to not be connected. And these are just a few defects. There are still many more unmentioned. Some children may have one CHD, while others have several.
We lost our 3.5 month old daughter, Allison Grace, to complex CHDs on August 13, 2002. We endured 32 days in the Lutheran General Hospital NICU in Park Ridge, Illinois, endless doctor visits and watched our little girl fight through open heart surgery at 3 months old, all to lose her life at only 101 days old. No parent should ever have to bury a child.
CHDs are the number 1 birth defect worldwide and the leading cause of birth-defect related deaths. There is no known cause for CHDs and there is no cure, only treatment, such as medicines, numerous surgeries and heart transplants.
Yet despite these facts, CHD's are the LEAST publicized and many newborns are still not being screened for CHD's. Very little people have heard of CHD's and even those that have, many times know very little about them. This is a serious issue that needs to be taken seriously.
February 7 - 14 is "Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week". Raising national awareness about Congenital Heart Defects is important on many levels—it will provide hope for families of CHD survivors and comfort to those whose loved ones have lost their battles; it will inform the general public about the symptoms of CHDs and possibly save lives; and it will affirm the need for researchers and medical professionals to continue their work to improve the outlook for CHD patients.
Help me honor families of children and adults with congenital heart defects and the professionals who work with them, and to help remember the memory of lives lost. Please sign this petition to help try to bring awareness to CHDs.