Meet the inspiration behind Heart Heroes: Sam, Ashley, and Sofia. These children laugh, play and enjoy life just like any child; however, what makes them our heroes is that they have experienced life-saving heart operations - unlike most children. One would never know these children have endured lengthy hospitalizations and miraculous medical interventions.
Undergoing these complex medical procedures is a daunting experience even for adults. For children, being alone without their family to comfort them amidst a crowd of medical professionals is absolutely frightening. Heart Hero Capes were created with the hope that all children visiting the hospital or their cardiologist will feel invincible wearing their cape – have super-hero powers - and that their parents will be comforted knowing that the arms that always protect them are momentarily being substituted with the super powers of the cape.
Sam, born March of 2007, was diagnosed with Hypo plastic Right Heart (HRH), Pulmonary Atresia and Tricuspid Regurgitation. Sam has had two open heart surgeries and two valvuloplastic repairs in the cath lab. Sam is awaiting a heart cath in the spring of 2010 and another heart surgery to follow.
Ashley, born June of 2001, has Absent Pulmonary Valve. At three months of age, she had her first open heart surgery. In the summer of 2008, she had her second operation to replace the valve which does not grow as she grows. She has experienced numerous other medical interventions, rehabilitation, therapy, and lengthy hospital stays. She will experience future operations to replace her valve again. At this time she is “heart healthy”.
Sofia, born in May of 2007, was unexpectedly diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) with the associated heart condition Ductus Pantent Arteriosus 10-days after she was born. Just 12-days old, she had an arterial switch completed which required heart bi-pass surgery. Although she requires annual cardiology check-ups no further anticipated intervention is needed – she is “heart healthy.”
After seeing their children face the challenges of heart operations and cardiology appointments the moms of these heart heroes decided to create the opportunity for all children with CHD to have a Heart Hero Cape.
If you know a child with CHD who wishes to have a cape, send an email to HeartHeroes@yahoo.com Or, if you wish to donate a cape, please purchase the gift card on this page.
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“Children hold our hands for a moment but our hearts forever.” ~Anonymous
Overwhelming statistics on CHD:
Every year approximately 40,000 infants are born in the US with congenital heart defects (CHD).
CHD is the most frequently occurring birth defect and the leading cause of birth-defect related deaths.
More than 50% of children with CHD will require at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime.
In the US twice as many children die from CHD each year than from all forms of childhood cancers combined.