It’s amazing how many times I talk to someone I know or a perfect stranger about Reiss’s condition and how many times I get a baffled look…What? Babies have heart problems? How? Then I start in on the statistics. Well…1 in 100 babies have some sort of heart defect. Every 15 minutes a baby is born with a CHD. It is the #1 birth defect and the #1 killer of babies. And the most eye-opening fact I have found to date —
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.
I like this stat and hate this stat at the same time. First off, I think this one statistic helps open people’s eyes immediately. Secondly, it angers me that CHD is so unknown and underfunded. That is why this year starts our journey to help raise awareness and funding for CHD research. I’m not saying you should stop putting your dollars towards any and all childhood cancer research – or any other childhood disease or condition for that matter. I am just asking that we spread the word and make people more aware. I can only deduce that the reason childhood cancer death rates are so low is because of the amount of funding that has been raised over the years. We need that for CHD. Families all over the US and the world need to know about CHD and how it can be diagnosed. I was SO happy to hear that our home state joined 32 other states in mandating a simple, cheap pulse-ox screening on all newborns. How awesome! 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. This simple screening can decrease these numbers.
Our first step in helping spread awareness – apart from this blog – is to host fundraisers in our community throughout the year. I have decided to start with February, which I have seen is either heart month or CHD awareness month or both, depending on the website you view.
I would like your input. What types of fundraisers have you done? Which are successful? What is something different you would like to see? Send me a note. I would love to hear from you!