This week is National Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. A time to recognize and learn about the number one cause of death in infants, or the fact that one in one hundred babies are born with a congenital heart defect, which puts CHD as the most common birth defect. Although, unless you have someone close to you that is born with a CHD, you don't really know about it. Why? We don't have as much funding as some of the other illnesses and defects have.
In honor of Kimble's life, and all the other CHD kids, our Mended Little Hearts group has offered many blood drives this week. Today, I got the opportunity to donate blood, just like last year. Today, I saved a life. Kimble has received many blood transfusions in his young life, the first time actually receiving his Daddy's blood after his first heart surgery, and we are very thankful to the nameless people who donated the blood that Kimble received additionally. It's such a small act of service to do, but one that makes a huge impact.
Kimble's picture (along with a small handful of other CHD kids that are in our heart group) was up on the wall in the bloodmobile, as well as on posters in booths, to share more information about CHD. It helps to have visuals of kids that are CHD survivors. Kimble's story is also made available, in a longer format, to personalize things a bit more. After I gave blood, I took a picture next to Kimble's picture. The words on his poster read: My name is Kimble. I love meatloaf. I like to play outside. I have had many heart surgeries, and will have more.
Many people question the severity of Kimble's heart defects. It's hard not to, when you see such a healthy and active boy in front of you. With CHD, there is a variety of defects. More than two hundred. However, at last night's parent support meeting, we had the head of our hospital's cardiology unit come and speak to us. I learned something very interesting.
He pointed out how numerous heart defects are under the CHD name, but he had seven specific heart defects that were labeled "Critical". This means, that if one of these seven CHDs go undetected in a newborn, and the baby went home from the hospital undiagnosed, that the baby would die before you would realize something was wrong with him/her, and there would be no time to get back to the hospital for treatment. Pretty intense.
Then the doctor brought up a list of the seven critical congenital heart defects. Guess what? Kimble had three of them. He had three out of the seven critical heart defects. All you need is one, to be deemed critical. He has three. All of Kimble's defects are on the critical list. If that doesn't slap you in the face....
So, yes. Kimble has heart defects. And yes. Kimble's heart defects are under the critical status. He would not have survived, if his defects had gone undetected. He would have died. I'm so thankful to the initial ultrasound tech, who saw that something wasn't quite right, and said we needed another ultrasound. Then, I'm so glad that she saw irregularities with the heart, and further sent us for another ultrasound, but this time with a cardiologist. She helped make the first diagnosis, which led to Kimble's official diagnosis, which led to him being born with a team of doctors already prepared to keep him alive.
I have a lot of gratitude for everyone involved in keeping Mr. Kimble alive and healthy. If I can do even the slightest bit, in helping keep someone else alive too, then it's the least I can do.