It’s In Your Hands

Being a heart parent isn’t easy. That’s no news flash. You’ve run the gamut of emotions from scared, to sad, to angry, then rinse and repeat. Oh yeah, and life doesn’t stop and wait for you to get it together either. There are days where you feel like maybe you’re starting to get it together, then comes a week where you’re feeling like the worst parent in the world. Through it all you try your best to hold on, and in this whirlwind of craziness that is our life we find ourselves craving encouragement. Well, Mom and Dad: I’m here to encourage you today.

I want you to take a deep breath, let it out, and then think for a moment about your hands. Think of all the things you use your hands to do. Next look back on this past week or two and remember a time where you used your hands to do some good. Maybe you used them to calm your heart warrior after a fall and a scrape. Maybe you placed a hand on another parent’s shoulder to let them know you’re there with them in their struggle. Maybe you’re making your famous spaghetti and meatballs that your kids love. How do you feel when you think of that moment? Let yourself be filled with that feeling.

Parents, there’s something special in our hands: something that brings joy and peace and safety to others. And that – in turn – makes us better. Let’s face it, we’ve seen a lot of profane things in this world: the tubes, the monitors, the incisions, the open chest and beating heart. We experience real fears and anxieties, real trials and struggles. In the midst of these things, though, is the work of our hands…and that work is sacred.

So when you’re pumping in that last tube feed and you’re tired, or you hammering out a supportive text message to another parent, or you’re shaking the hand of a lawmaker as you advocate for heart kids, or you’re snapping a fussy toddler with a beautiful scar into a car seat, I want you to realize that it’s sacred work you’re doing, in the midst of all the profane things we face. And when you get down and you feel like it’s all for nothing, I want you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and think about what your hands have done this week. Create a special place in your mind where that feeling resides and make sure you always go back to it. Because you’ll realize that after close inspection, your hands are often busy doing very sacred work. Stay strong, parents.

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BlogHeadshotChris Perez (aka HLHS Dad) lives just outside Charlotte, NC with his wife and 3 sons – including Nolan, who was born with HLHS in 2012.  He is the author of Half Heart. Whole Life: an HLHS Dad’s Blog, where he shares his journey as a heart dad with honesty, humor, and the realization that dad’s just handle things differently. In his spare time – if such a thing exists – Chris enjoys New York Yankees baseball, playing guitar, and memes.  You can visit Chris’ blog at http://hlhsdad.com.

 

100’s of Hearts

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Every day, there are over 100 babies born with a heart defect in the U.S. That’s thousands of hearts each year. Add those to the 100’s and 100’s and 100’s who are already living with heart defects. That’s millions of hearts.

But let’s bring into focus just one heart. That one baby who, by all odds, was that 1 in 110. That one born with the heart defect. It could be your daughter, your son, your niece or your nephew. It could be your Mom, your brother, your neighbor, your classmate, or even you. Who do you know that has a story about heart defects?

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The Pediatric Congenital Heart Association is committed to bringing these stories together, amplifying them to make a difference.

Uniting a community is a big task, however. We can’t do it without your help. PCHA is primarily funded by individual donors, like you. In order to be successful, we need to unite a community of partners and supporters.

By making a simple donation of $20 or more to our 100’s of Hearts Campaign, you are helping to empower the 100’s, thousands perhaps millions.

Through Education – “When we first learned about my daughter’s heart defect, the internet was a scary place to go for information.” – Mother to beautiful girl with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Our Trusted Resources program will provide quality information to people when they need it, where they need it.

Through Research – “My son is with us today beacause of life saving research.” – Mother of child who’s defect was detected through screening. Through promotion of research, as well as collaboration in new and existing projects, we recognize that research is key to improving outcomes.

Through Advocacy – “The statistics will always be there, it’s your story that we remember.” – U.S. Senate Staff Member. Empowering patients to tell their story to lawmakers

Pick one special heart to honor. Help us reach 100 hearts! 

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