By Lena Minervino, Maine Heart Walk Director and Henry’s mom
Henry has always been different, in a way a parent can never explain. During his annual wellness check I asked his pediatrician to take another listen to his heart. At night, I would put my ear to Henry’s chest and listen – it sounded different than mine and my other two boys. As usual, I heard “a lot of children have heart murmurs that usually resolve on their own”, but I persisted by requesting for a referral to a cardiologist.
At our visit to the cardiologist, Henry underwent an EKG (returning abnormal) and then an echocardiogram revealing a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus. This condition is caused by a hole in his heart not closing at birth, resulting in an enlarged atria. Had we not caught this in time, Henry could have faced further heart damage, pulmonary hypertension and early death.
Two days after his 7th birthday, he had a device installed to close the hole. The device was brought up through his femoral artery, requiring only an overnight stay and very short recovery period. We were skiing just 5 days later!
The work we do is that much more important, because of lifesaving devices like the one my son received. Our funding goes to create devices, surgical methods, diagnostic tools and so much more. We empower our supporters to advocate for themselves and their family. We are the change and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.