As February is heart month, we’ve invited our friends over at the Heart and Stroke Foundation to share a story of just how far we’ve come in medical advances. While we’ve still got a ways to go, RLCF is committed to funding investment in health science as it is such a crucial area to ensure better quality of life for all.

Baby Heart beats the odds

Moments after giving birth to twins, one of Miranda Brown’s new sons was immediately whisked away for testing when the nurse detected a heart murmur.

An anxious hour later, Miranda was told the grave news that her son Henry need to be airlifted from Kamloops to Vancouver Children’s Hospital immediately to save his life.

“I couldn’t even breathe,” Miranda says. “It was so terrible. It was so big. I couldn’t even comprehend it at that point.”

Born on Nov. 12, 2013, with a heart with just three chambers and completely lacking a pulmonary artery, Henry had his first open-heart surgery within five days of life. Four months later, he had another grueling eight-hour surgery that implanted an artificial artery and a patched the hole in his ventricle to create the required four chambers. He improved immediately.

“It was amazing,” says Miranda. “He was pink. It was instant.”

Henry’s condition is still complex and fragile; he is expected to have another surgery anytime within the next two years as well as in the future to replace the arteries as he outgrows them.

February is Heart Month and charting Henry’s survival shows us how far we have come with research in creating more survivors of heart disease – even the tiniest ones.

Henry was the victim of one in 10,000 odds of such a heart defect. But, heart conditions in babies are not that unusual; one in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect in Canada.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart Month Report explains that, “Thanks to medical advances in Canada and around the world, survival of children with congenital heart disease has greatly improved. Sixty years ago, fewer than 20 per cent of infants born with complex heart defects reached adulthood, but today, more than 90 per cent do.”

And children with heart defects can expect longer, healthier lives. According to the report, “Improved care throughout their lives can help them to avoid or manage complications and live life to its fullest.”

It’s through cardiac research that every day becomes more hopeful for those with heart disease. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is investing close to $34 million in research this year, funded by generous donors. This brings the Foundation’s research investment since its inception in 1952 to $1.42 billion, making it the largest contributor to heart and stroke research in Canada after the federal government.

It’s all part of the race to save lives.

Please see the Heart and Stroke Foundation video: The Race to Save Lives.

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Help us ensure there are more survivors like Henry. If you want to help out, RLCF encourages you to donate to The Heart and Stroke Foundation. They are tripling all donations during the month of February.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation or reach out to us on social media.

Facebook:        RobertLConconiFoundation

Twitter:             @ConconiFndn

LinkedIn:          Robert L. Conconi Foundation

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