Yesterday was National Go Red for Heart. Officially, I believe it is Go Red for Women. Everyone is encouraged to wear red to bring awareness to heart disease in women--the #1 killer of women in America. I proudly wore red for my mom who is six months out from an ambulance ride that changed her life. Thankfully, after a heart cath, bypass surgery, and several setbacks, she is recovering nicely and doing well now.
With that said, I would like to encourage everyone who has been touched by acquired heart disease to think about the Go Red campaign in a broader sense. Think women, think men, think girls, think boys.
- When you hear of heart catheter procedures (known as a heart cath), do not think only of a 50-year-old man having stents placed to open clogged arteries. Think also of a 3-day-old baby having a narrow valve ballooned open.
- When you hear of pacemaker or ICD placement surgery, do not think only of a young woman with an uncontrollable rapid heart rate. Think also of a 3-year-old child going back to the operating room for a pacemaker due to blocked heart rhythm after open-heart surgery to repair defects.
- When you hear of heart valve replacements, do not think only of a thirty-something getting a new valve. Think also of the 4-year-old getting a new valve due to defects. Think also of the 2-year-old having a valve completely removed and left out until he is older.
- When you hear about bypass surgery, do not think only of the older relative having a clogged artery bypass surgery. Think also of a 3-year-old child going in for the final surgery of a three stage surgical repair to bypass one whole side of his heart.
Imagine a 5-year-old who has been shocked back into normal heart rhythm after days of uncontrolled high heart rates. Imagine four heart cath procedures, two cardiac MRI procedures, one open-heart surgery, grown up medications, numerous ER visits, hospitalizations and procedures, and all before his 4th birthday. I do not have to imagine-that is my boy's story. I wore red for him yesterday.
Thousands of children share similar stories.
- A 2 year old with five open heart surgeries under her belt
- A baby in congestive heart failure
- A plastic bag filled with heart medications for a preschooler
Imagine burying a baby, a toddler, a teen…
Imagine losing a child of any age due to heart disease.
It happens every day.
Spread the word…
Congenital Heart Disease is a killer, but more children are surviving than ever before. Those of you who have not been touched by CHD may find yourselves directly affected in the coming years. Very little money is devoted to CHD research. Visit the following websites to learn more about Congenital Heart Disease and to find out how you can help increase awareness:
Go Red for Heart. Did YOU wear red for someone special yesterday? I would love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and let me know your Go Red stories!