So February is a big month for us. It is heart month. CHD Awareness week is Feb 7-14. It's official in Iowa. Governor Culver signed a proclamation declaring it so. Some of you may remember Andrew meeting Gov. Culver at the Heart Ball a year ago. Andrew was honored as a "Heart Hero."
We have walked in every Heartwalk, and diligently worked to raise money for the American Heart Association. Andrew was honored as the Heartwalk Ambassador in 2008.
Every year our team grows more and more, and so do the funds we raise.
I have totaled up the amount of dollars our team, Act for Andrew, has raised over the past 3 years...we have raised just under $7,000! Isn't that amazing?? It is because of the generosity of so many of you, who have been touched by Andrew's story, or someone you love has been affected by heart disease.
Our family has been asked to speak at events to raise money for the AHA, like the Executive Leadership Breakfast last year.
We love getting involved. We love spreading awareness for CHD's, the #1 birth defect.
Did you know....• Congenital heart defects are America’s and every country’s #1 birth defect. Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.
• Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of all infant deaths in the United States.
• Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a congenital heart defect. Thousands of them will not reach their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.
• Each year over 1,000,000 babies are born worldwide with a congenital heart defect. 100,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.
• There are an estimated 2,000,000 CHD survivors in the United States.
• For the first time, more than 50% of the CHD survivors are adults.
• 10% of all CHD cases evaluated in an Adult CHD clinic are first diagnosed in adulthood.
• The cost for inpatient surgery to repair congenital heart defects exceeds $2.2 billion a year.
• More than 50% of all children born with congenital heart defect will require at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime.
• There are more than 40 different types of congenital heart defects. Little is known about the cause of most of them. There is no known prevention or cure for any of them.
• In the United States, twice as many children die from congenital heart defects each year than from all forms of childhood cancer combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD.
The truth is, I want to do so much. I want to help in a BIG way. That is why I am overwhelmed. I am just one person. We are just one family. How can we possibly make a difference?
That reminded me of the Starfish Story...
The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.
As he came up to the person he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said,
"It made a difference to that one!"
So, when I'm feeling overwhelmed to make a difference, I need to remember that everything we do makes a difference. In a few short months, Andrew is going to be turned over to the surgeons for the third time in his life. I like to think that in the three years since he's been born, that the $7,000 we've raised has made a difference in the progress of education and research of CHD's, and that his next surgery's success will be a direct result of those efforts. I like to think that the people we've spoken with, talks we've given, people who have been touched by Andrew's story have helped spread awareness so that there is just one more person out there who didn't know about CHD's before, but they do now.
I like to think we've made a difference.
And it is all because of one very special little boy.
Who makes a pretty big difference all on his own.
Please visit my friend Stef's blog to see the article she wrote about Andrew and posted on her blog today in honor of CHD week.