On Sunday, February 8, dozens of patient families with children that have congenital heart disease gathered to celebrate lives saved and CHD Awareness Week (2/7/15 – 2/14/15). These children’s hearts were surgically repaired at the hospital’s Heart Center, and the event, in its 15th year, is a kind of heart family reunion for those that share in the experience.
“These families can often feel like they’re all alone,” said Deb Hanisch, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Heart Center and main organizer of the event. “It’s beneficial for them to be able to meet each other and share their experiences.”
The event had a true community feel; families bought potluck dishes to share, sat at long communal tables with one another, meeting new faces and catching up with those they recognize. Games, raffle prizes and a surprise performance by Frozen princesses kept the kiddos busy and happy for the afternoon. Parents, like Erica Deleon reflected on how her daughter Savhanna’s doctor at the Heart Center changed their family’s lives. “I thank him from the bottom of my heart … he was able to work his magic in the operating room and she has been heart strong ever since. I am so grateful.”
According to the American Heart Association, about nine of every 1,000 babies born in the United States have a congenital heart defect. Congenital heart defects are the most common of all birth defects. This is a problem that occurs as the baby’s heart is developing during pregnancy. Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects.
Representatives of the Silicon Valley chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a support program for parents of children with heart defects and heart disease, were in attendance. Camp Taylor highlighted their medically supervised free youth and teen residential summer camp sessions, catering to the under-served population of pediatric cardiology.
The Heart Center performs close to 500 heart surgeries per year. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is nationally ranked #8 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report and the highest ranked in Northern California. The pediatric heart center offers a full range of diagnostic, imaging and treatment services for children with heart problems. We also have an interactive 3-D animation to help you learn more about your child’s heart and how we treat complex congenital defects.
Discover more about our Heart Center or call (650) 721-2121.
- Samantha Dorman
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