It's February 2021 and February, in my world, is known for something very special -- Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month. It started as a day -- February 14th. We petitioned government officials to announce that that one day was to be forever known as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. It gave us an opportunity to meet with government officials, to do radio shows, talk to reporters, and become advocates for a hidden birth defect.
Over time it became Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week because there were too many activities to fit into one measly day. Then it expanded until it was Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month. An entire month for a birth defect hardly anyone seems to have heard of? Yes! Why? Because it's not as rare as you might think.
Congenital heart defects are the #1 birth defect around the world. They don't discriminate by color, sex, nationality, socio-economic status, or any other seemingly important demographic. They affect people all over the world, they affect people in my home. My youngest son was born with multiple heart defects. He has a special heart and thanks to his heart, I have come to know people all over the world and I've become a voice for the invisible people who have often felt alone.
What can you do during Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month?
• If you're a member of the congenital heart defect community, you can share your story on a podcast, to a newspaper reporter, on a radio show, or to your local government official.
• For introverts, you can passively spread awareness by Sharing, Liking, and Commenting on posts that spread awareness or you can even do something simple like adding a frame to your social media photo/banner.
• You can celebrate the lives of those Heart Warriors who are doing well, remember the many professionals who work to save children's lives by bringing cards or thoughtful food to a local hospital, say a prayer or light a candle for a family whose child was taken far too soon. By remembering the many people who are touched by congenital heart defects, you are promoting an understanding of this condition.
Have a heart and spread awareness of the #1 birth defect in whatever way your heart guides you and remember my friends, you are not alone!