By now, you’ve probably seen Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional monologue where he talks about the recent birth of his son Billy. Within hours of his birth Billy was diagnosed with a severe congenital heart defect (CHD) known as Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Artresia. At three days old doctors at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles performed open heart surgery on Billy to repair one of the defects in his heart. Some time in the next six months Billy will face another open heart surgery and then later in his teens he’ll need another less invasive procedure to further repair his heart.
I was glad to hear Jimmy share the story about his son’s CHD. It gave CHDs a moment in the spotlight. For a few days everyone was talking about CHDs and writing about CHDs. I’m sure it prompted a surge in contributions to CHD related charities. But the thing is… CHDs have been and continue to be the #1 form of birth defects – affecting 1 in every 100 babies born. It continues to be the #1 cause of infant deaths in the U.S. Every year 100-200 children die due to undiagnosed heart defects. There currently is no cure for CHDs – only palliative surgeries and treatments. CHDs need more than just a moment in the spotlight. The CHD community needs your support in an ongoing way – with a dogged determination to change this picture. They need you to help spread awareness. They need you to donate to organizations that support CHD research, funding, and legislation. They need you to know that for every story that hits the national spotlight there are 1,000 other children fighting CHDs that need your help.
So here is what I’m asking you to do today. First, share this blog post. Share it on your social media. Share it in conversation with friends. Share it so that everyone understands the fight that is being waged against CHD. Second, I need you to give. This Sunday, Tony Alger, Max Fort, and I will be racing in the Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 triathlon. And then in September we’ll be racing Ironman Wisconsin together. We race because we enjoy the challenge. We race to honor warriors battling CHDs and angels whose fight is over. And we race to raise awareness and money for oganizations like the Pediatric Congental Heart Association (PCHA) – an organization that supports CHD education, research, and advocacy. Our goal is raise a total of $2,000 for PCHA between now and September and would like to hit $1,000 before our race on Sunday. Right now we’re $475 short of our goal for Sunday. Please join us in this fight with a tax deductible contribution to PCHA.