About 32,000 infants are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect each year and 1.3 million Americans are living today with a CHD. Tomorrow, February 7th, is the start of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week and this year we are sharing the CHD story of Blake, age 4.
Blake was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS. He had his first open-heart surgery at seven days old, the second at five months old and his third when he was three years- old.
“No one in our family had a similar condition – this was new to us,” Tiffany continued. “We were in shock and disbelief when he was diagnosed at a day old and felt like our world was crashing down around us.”
Most families don’t know the risks of congenital heart defects (CHD), what they are and how they are treated until they are diagnosed just before, or after, the baby is born.
“Before Blake was born, I wish I had known how common CHDs are in children and that, as a mother there was nothing that I did to cause his condition,” commented Tiffany Galligan, mom and caregiver to Blake, 4. “It would have been great to know that they are treatable and, if detected early, children can live full, happy lives.”