Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the leading birth defect in Maine children, however many parents of these children report feeling alone when their child is diagnosed. To help connect families across Maine and to provide a fun day for children with CHDs, the American Heart Association is hosting its 5th annual “Little Heart Hero Day” on Sunday, November 3rd from 11 AM – 1 PM at the Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta.
This free family event will feature a fall leaves wreath craft, face painting, selfies, a balloon artist, and heart-healthy lunch. All Little Heart Heroes – CHD survivors – will receive red capes. Siblings, grandparents, and friends are welcome, but RSVP is required. This year’s event is made possible with the support of Gorham Savings Bank.
Our featured speaker for this statewide event is Faith Brackett, an adult CHD survivor from Old Town. Brackett was selected earlier this year as one of three official “Maine Goes Red” Spokeswomen by the Association to share their stories of survival to educate others about women and heart disease.
“Sometimes it can feel scary to face a disease or illness, but I am here today because in the face of illness, I was blessed with medical professionals who jumped in the ring and battled my heart disease with me,” said Brackett. “Because of amazing medical advancements and the type of research the American Heart Association supports, we have hope.”
Attendees will also learn the lifesaving skill known as Hands-Only CPR with free demonstrations by the Association’s staff. In addition, CHD survivors and their siblings will receive fun giveaways.
In the U.S. about 40,000 babies are born with a CHD each year, which equates to one child every 15 minutes. Approximately 25% of children born with a CHD will need heart surgery or other interventions to survive. Today, because of advancements made through research, more infants born with congenital heart defects survive to adulthood. Despite the progress made in understanding and treating CHDs, more research is needed to continue to save lives in the future.
To RSVP for this free event, please contact Brittany Whalen at [email protected] or 207-289-2394.