guest post from Charles F. Miller, International Children's Heart Foundation, www.BabyHeart.org
1,000,000. That’s a BIG number.
1,000,000 … what? Dollars? Miles? Minutes? Pounds? Think about it. 1,000,000. BIG.
We are talking about Children. 1,000,000 children are born each year with a congenital heart defect (March of Dimes Report*). This makes it the Number One birth defect. Did you know? That’s 2,740 children born around the world each day with a heart defect.
The University of Michigan Football Stadium is the largest in the USA and holds 107,000 people. Fill that huge stadium up over 9 times….each year…with newborns…all suffering from a congenital heart defect. As a point of reference, 207,000 people were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 (National Cancer Institute*).
There is an organization really making a dent in the problem around the globe. The International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF) has a mission of: bringing the skills, technology and knowledge to cure and care for children with congenital heart disease to developing countries. ICHF does this regardless of country of origin, race, religion or gender. Additionally, ICHF actively trains the local medical personnel so they can build their own self-sustaining pediatric cardiac center and ICHF can go away and help other countries. In 2011 ICHF is operating in the following countries: Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and India.
ICHF will operate on about 900 children this year across the globe. Is that significant or too small a number? It is significant for those kids and their families. Also, by building self-sustaining programs in these under-developed countries more and more children will be saved year after year. That’s what it takes to make a difference --- teaching others to do it themselves.
The children in these poor countries do not have a chance because there aren’t typically any physicians who have been trained in pediatric cardiac surgery. The children may also live very far away from any medical facilities. Often the parents are told to take their child home and love them as long as they live.
In the United States we are blessed to have so many facilities available that can help our children who have congenital heart defects. We feel that it is our obligation to help those less fortunate.
Taking CHD submissions until the 15th of February so that we can include as many “faces” as possible. (To submit a post email faith (at) heaveninourhearts (dot) com.)