Thursday, February 2, 2012

Heart Month

The month of February is National Heart Month. The week of February 7 - 14 is Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week.  How fitting it is that our Heart Warrior was also born in February.

Prior to being thrown into this new world, honestly, I had no idea about any of this. I lived my life knowing there are these horrible things out there but never in a million years knew the statistics or that it could EVER happen to me or my baby... however if you read these statistics.. it could really happen to anyone. The more we know the more we can help spread awareness and help fund valuable research to provide the newest advancements for detection and treatment.  Our Jasiu is helping me spread awareness. Here are some scary facts... 

*** Congenital Heart Defects are the #1 birth defect worldwide

*** Congenital Heart Defects are the #1 cause of birth defect related deaths worldwide

*** About 1 out of every 100 babies are born each year with some type of Congenital Heart Defect in the United States (approx. 40,000/year)

*** Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for Congenital Heart Defects

*** Each year worldwide 100,000 babies (under one year old) will not live to celebrate their first birthday

*** Each year in the United States approximately 4,000 babies (under one year old) will not live to celebrate their first birthday

*** The cost for inpatient surgery to repair Congenital Heart Defects exceeds $2.2 billion a year

*** Of every dollar the government spends on medical funding only a fraction of a penny is directed toward Congenital Heart Defect research

*** The American Heart Association directs only $0.30 of every dollar donated toward research. The remainder goes toward administration, education and fundraising efforts. Of the $0.30 that goes toward research only $0.01 goes toward pediatric cardiology for CHD

*** Though research is ongoing, at least 35 defects have now been identified

*** Although some babies will be diagnosed during gestation or at birth, sometimes the diagnosis is not made until days, weeks, months, or even years after. In some cases, CHD is not detected until adolescence or adulthood

***It is a proven fact that the earlier CHD is detected and treated, it is more likely the affected child will survive and have less long term health complications

                                                                              Information taken from It's My Heart Website.

Because Jasiu has been doing so well with only minor bumps on the road, I have taken it upon myself to spread awareness and most of all HOPE.  The life of a CHD mom is not easy. No one I have met on this road ever said it would be but it's one of the most rewarding ones. (Not to say that just being a parent to a healthy baby isn't rewarding, but this adds  whole new level.) These children deserve the same life as all other healthy children do.

As a result of my goal to spread awareness, I have signed up to volunteer with the Go Red For Women  with the American Heart Association with the long term goal to raise awareness for the need to do more research for CHD's and not only adult acquired diseases. I needed my foot in the door and I think this will be it. As you would read on that website Heart disease is also the #1 killer for Women, so it's important for all of us. I only wish that CHD's got as much awareness and press as adult diseases and cancer do. 

I'm also looking to see if a CHD Heart Awareness Walk is already organized in Chicago area to get more involved in fundraising for research. How cool would it be if I got some help from the local heart mamas to organize one.

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