February is American Heart Month! It is a month in which we advocate for those affected by cardiovascular disease and raise awareness about heart disease.
The month is filled with many opportunities to advocate and raise awareness such as National Wear Red Day to Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week.
It is a month where we are not only reminded to take care of our hearts, but to promote education about heart health.
Heart Disease is the number one killer of Americans and affects every age group from infancy to adulthood.
Friday, February 3, 2023 is National Wear Red Day. It is the first Friday in February dedicated to wearing red to show support for the awareness of all heart diseases.
February 7th - 14th nationwide is set aside for Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week.
The state of Louisiana is recognizing CHD Awareness week for the week of February 6 - 13, 2023.
According to The Children's Heart Foundation and the CDC, Congenital Heart Disease is the most common birth defect in the United States.
It affects 40,000 children a year. 1 out of 100 children on average are born with a congenital heart defect.
This averages to 1 child every 15 minutes born with CHD. These defects are there before the child is born, but not always detectable before birth.
1 in 4 of the children born with a defect will have a critical CHD that requires surgery within the first week, to first year of life.
CHD is the number 1 cause of death due to birth defects. While typically assumed to be due to a genetic cause, 15% of CHDs are caused by a genetic condition. Most causes of CHD is currently unknown.
According to Conquering CHD, CHD is 30 times more common than cystic fibrosis and 50 times more common than childhood cancer, and 25% of the children born with a critical CHD will not live to see their first birthday.
There are currently less than 10% of adults with CHD receiving the recommended care today.
Odds are, you most likely know someone with some form of CHD. It is a wide spectrum of defects that range from a small hole in the heart to parts of the heart being missing, and the research and funding is no where close to where it needs to be.
Outside of government funding, most research is funded by non-profit organizations such as the Children's Heart Foundation.
And last year, we brought attention to one of our own who had to leave the state to give birth to her CHD warrior. Myself.
Last year, MACKID brought attention to my son Brendan and his battle with CHD, sharing our go fund me to help us cover expenses while we were hospitalized.
Brendan lost his battle at 15 days old, and since then my family and I have shared our journey, even with grief and loss to bring a greater awareness to CHD.
While we have come so far in research and advancements we have not come far enough. A 69% survival rate to age 18 for a child born with a critical CHD is unacceptable.
We need more research, we need more awareness, and we NEED to have the ability to keep our Shreveport-Bossier families within their community.
For the past year, I have spent raising awareness for CHD, sharing our story online with thousands of people via TikTok, Facebook and the blog Grieving with Heart.
At the beginning of the year, I requested the State of Louisiana to recognize CHD Awareness week this year, and I have the proclamation.
I have reached out to local media outlets to bring attention to this issue, and even incorporated Wear Red Day at the NSU CONSAH campus in Shreveport.
This year, I am also asking for the support of all our Shreveport/Bossier families to help us raise awareness.
Wear Red on Friday, Feb. 3rd, 2023. Reach out to our local businesses and ask them to donate some of their proceeds to organizations like Conquering CHD, The Children's Heart Foundation, Heart Heros, Levi's Legacy, and many others that offer support for children and families who battle CHD each and every day.
No Warrior Fights Alone, and its time for us to help be the catalyst that hopefully leads to better treatments, and a possible cause and cure for these defects.
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