Enjoy a day of family fun that benefits the number one birth defect in the country.By Melissa Greiner Photo courtesy The Children’s Heart Foundation, Pennsylvania Chapter
For soon-to-be parents, that first ultrasound is a surreal experience. No matter how fuzzy the picture or how uncooperative the baby, seeing that unmistakable profile of a new little life is mesmerizing and inspiring. For a number of parents, though, that picture doesn’t just speak to promise and possibility; when a congenital heart defect is discovered, what was once an exciting moment becomes confusing and fearful.
Congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect in the United States, affecting 1 in 100 babies born. The Children’s Heart Foundation exists to bring hope and change to families affected by raising much-needed funds for research that can improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects.
The local parents who volunteer their time and energy to this cause — the moms and dads of “Heart Babies” who have benefited from the advancements the charity has helped support — invite you to join them for a day of family fun that celebrates these little warriors and the real-life heroes who have made their young lives possible.
Philly Hearts is an afternoon of games, music, classic Philly foods, and fun. Jump on the moon bounce, meet an animal from the zoo, or dance to tunes by the Baby Blues Sound Collective and Osler Circle, two bands made up of of heart doctors who have skills in the OR and on stage. All proceeds go to funding research.
Aside from the obvious local connection of soft pretzels, many of the kids you’ll see running around are here today because of the research done in the past few years, and their parents are continuing the fundraising to help the next babies born have an even better chance.
“It’s terrifying, handing over your brand new baby and not knowing,” says CHF Pennsylvania chapter president Patty Cheshire, whose son was born with a congenital heart defect. “On the other side of it you are so grateful, you need to do something.”
And while so many children have great futures in front of them after surgery, so much more needs to be done. “More children pass from congenital heart defects than all pediatric cancers combined, yet their funding is five times higher,” says Cheshire. “I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about it, but we are making noise.”
Come on out and help them get a little louder.