February is heart month, and with that comes CHD Awareness (Chronic Heart Disease). I received an email from a photography blog that I follow about The Paper Heart Project... I've challenged myself this year to participate in at least 1 "photography project" that I see, which happens frequently enough when you follow so many photography blogs and groups on Facebook. With Valentine's day around the corner, I thought this project must have to do with that. I opened the website to find that the project was actually about CHD Awareness and doing a photography project with paper hearts. You can read more about that here - http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/paper-heart-photo-project/
This was perfect for my first project, but I was short on time by the time I read the email and saw the post, as I wanted to share it for Valentine's Day. I wasn't able to get adorable pictures of my child holding a paper heart... But I did have the time to take a few photos of some paper hearts covered in glitter. Had I given myself until this weekend to complete this, I might have been able to do something more extravagant, but I actually love the simplicity of the photos I took.
I had obviously heard of CHD over the course of my life, but I didn't really know anyone who was impacted by it (in retrospect, I probably knew people who were, but I wasn't aware of it at the time). I've recently been connected to an organization called Frogs For Life, that is run by a co-worker and his wife, Luke and Leah. Their mission is to bring awareness to CHD, they do this in honor of their late son, Tommy. You can read more about their story on their Facebook page for Frogs For Life - https://www.facebook.com/tommywalker2014/
On February 24th, with their daughter, they will be delivering gifts to the hospital that Tommy spent a lot of time in (an extra special day, Tommy's birthday). All of the items collection will be used in the Nemours Cardiac Unit 2b at AI DuPont hospital for the patients and the families of patients. If I recall correctly, this is only their second year running the toy drive and they recently posted the photo below!! It's amazing how much support they've gained in just 1 year - they are just 2 people trying to spread awareness and help people in need (imagine what could be done with even more people)!
Supporting their cause has not only allowed me to get to know this amazing family (even if it is long distance), but it has also taught me so much about CHD that I didn't know before. In reality, all you have to do is Google CHD Facts and you'll find a ton of information out there. Did you know that CHD is the most common type of birth defect? And in most babies, the cause is unknown? Or that most people which a CHD are never cured?
While many people do live relatively normal lives with CHD, many cases end up with invasive surgeries... Even though it's difficult to talk about, there are also cases where the heart cannot be repaired and even with surgeries, the baby does not survive. According to the AAP, "CHDs are the most common cause of infant death related to birth defects, accounting for 28% of deaths due to birth defects in the first month of life and about 50% of the deaths due to birth defects during the first 2 to 12 months"... That seemed shocking to me.
If you're interested in learning more about CHD, below are links to some fact sheets (or do what I said above and Google CHD facts)
More facts here - https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/facts.html
I hope that you enjoyed my Paper Heart Project and that this post helped bring a little awareness about CHDs. This was an incredibly difficult post to write, as part of the topic is difficult to discuss. I suppose that's part of the point of bringing awareness.
Thanks for stopping by!