Do you know the leading cause of death in the USA? I’ll give you two hints: 1.) It isn’t COVID – not even close. 2.) It has to do with Valentines Day. If you guessed heart disease you’d be correct. In my family, at 54, I have outlived all my immigrant forefathers. Most of us have someone in our family that has has some type of cardiovascular issue.
This month we will be doing some education with videos and newsletters on heart healthy habits. We would love for you to join us as we talk exercise, omega 3s, and much more.
Speaking of hearts, I love my staff. I really do! They have incredible hearts and like all of us, develop passions for causes that effect us. Below, our receptionist Josie Hau will share her heart story involving her daughter Maya, who needed heart surgery as an infant.
Hi everyone! If you come in the office on a Wednesdays, you know me! But for those of you who don’t, I’m Josie and I’ve been working the front desk at Francis Chiro for almost 4 years. My husband, Ryan, and I have four daughters and our third daughter Maya, had some surprises in store for us when she was born. When I was pregnant, everyone would ask if we were hoping for a boy or a girl, and our response was always, “it doesn’t matter as long as he or she is healthy!” except that wasn’t in the cards for us.
We found out at the 20 week ultrasound that she had a congenital heart defect (CHD). Which meant she would need open heart surgery within the first six months of her life. We also found out that she had Down Syndrome. Our whole life was changing direction and we just had to hold on for the ride!
Maya started to go into heart failure at just 5 weeks old and the medicine wasn’t slowing the process down enough, so our little girl went in for her open heart surgery at 7 weeks old. Her heart was the size of a walnut when her surgeon had to open her chest and fix her heart. Thankfully, after nearly 8 hours, she was out of surgery and we could see her. Seeing someone you love hooked up to tubes, wires, monitors, etc is heart wrenching. Seeing your newborn like that is downright awful.
That same night at 2:00 am, while at the Ronald McDonald House, we got a phone call saying there was a problem and we needed to get back ASAP. She needed to go back to the operating room to fix a tear in her mitral valve. On Thanksgiving morning 2018, at 3:00 in the morning the entire surgical team left their families and came back to Children’s Hospital to fix my baby’s heart…again. She ended up needing another surgery just 10 days later due to another tear in her mitral valve. That surgery lasted just under 9 hours but thankfully it was her last one!
We will always be grateful for people who dedicate their lives to saving babies lives.
CHD is the most common birth defect, effecting 1 in 100 babies born but gets a fraction of funding for research. If Maya was born 40 years ago, she wouldn’t have survived, but thankfully science has come a long way and her specific heart defect has a 98% survival rate now.
I started a business called The Love for Littles where we make and sell our support bracelets for little warriors fighting big battles. For February Heart Month we are selling a “Heart Warrior” bracelet and donating the proceeds to a local non profit that is funding research into CHD in hopes that eventually all defects can be fixed!
How to Support:
If you want to buy a bracelet and support our cause please click here.
Here is the nonprofit Project Bubaloo where the donations will be going to.
Thank you so much for reading our story and for your support! Below is a picture of the first time I got to hold Maya after her surgeries, and the second picture is of our family now! So much can change in a short amount of time!!