This week, February 7-14, is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a structural problem with the heart that’s present at birth. Such defects result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception – often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant.
About 40,000 infants are affected by congenital heart defects each year in the United States. Research advances mean these babies are living longer, with an estimated 1 million children and 1.3 million adult survivors of congenital heart defects.
Several little heart heroes, those who have undergone open heart surgery or who were born with CHD, joined the American Heart Association and Vermont Teddy Bear this weekend for an unveiling of a heart hero cape that goes along with Vermont Teddy Bear’s “Love Your Heart Bear”. The Love Your Heart Bear features an embroidered scar in the center of its chest, something many heart heroes can relate to.
Since 2009, the American Heart Association has funded over 400 research awards—totaling $58.7 million— broadly related to children’s heart disease. Little Heart Heroes can face some extremely scary situations, but together, the American Heart Association and Vermont Teddy Bear are hoping to bring smiles to their faces with a Love Your Heart bear in the hands of every cardiac kid in the nation.
When you make a donation of $250 or more to the Vermont Go Red for Women Luncheon, children in the UVM Pediatric program receive a Love Your Heart bear in your name and your donation goes to vital life-saving science and research. To learn more or make a donation, please visit VTGoRed.Heart.Org.