Friday, February 8, 2008

7 For 7: 7 Ways You Can Help!

Now that we have some people interested in this site and in creating CHD awareness, I'm getting lots of questions on how to help the campaign for awareness, where to make donations, and what else can be done. For today's list of 7, here are some suggestions of how you can help!

Give Blood.
Before, during and after surgery, our children have multiple transfusions. Sometimes these can come from family members, but many times, if the surgery is not pre-planned, this blood comes from strangers like you. Your gift of blood goes a LONG way for a child with CHD!

Vote on Health Care Issues. In future blog entries, we'll start to delve into the problems that our current health care systems leave families of CHD facing - things like bankruptcy, suggestions for divorce (to qualify for aid), unsurmountable medical bills and general agitation and frustration over the hours that must be spent fighting first for our children's lives, then for the insurance to cover the costs. Don't worry, we'll offer some loopholes and promising information we've found as well. When you see a bill come through that promotes options for "uninsurable" patients (as many CHD patients have been deemed), VOTE, contact your legislator and talk to your community about it.

Support your local group. There are a large number of CHD-related groups out there, each offering services to families... from support to financial aid, medical guidance to research. We have not yet been able to verify the best source to donate funds directly to research of CHD, so I instead encourage you to participate in a fundraiser for a group in your community, such as local chapters of Mended Little Hearts or Its My Heart, make a donation and get involved.

Become an organ donor. Today I read wonderful, yet heart-breaking news that a little girl received her much-needed heart transplant this morning. She had been on the waiting list for over 60 days, and is just over 9 lbs. Through someone else's tragedy, her life has been saved. It's hard to even fathom, but the donation of you or your loved ones body can save one or more lives.

Advocate. You're likely reading this because you, a friend, or a loved one has been affected by CHD. If so, get out there and talk about it. Talk to your doctors, OBs, ultrasound technicians, social workers - anyone who may come across CHD. It's surprising how little they know

Join Forces. If you already belong to a CHD-related group, encourage them to join in first on the Awareness Week campaign, but secondly in finding ways to unite our community. We need to find a common ground that all of our groups can participate in - a way to advocate to the masses and find new sources of revenue for research.

Support a CHD Family.
If you are a friend or loved one of someone who has CHD, simply being a listening ear, taking over meals during the "trying times," sending messages of support, prayers and positive energy all make big differences to a family with CHD. Offer to assist with child care for siblings, to stay and let the parents rest, to mow the lawn, to clean the house, to work overtime so they can have more time off, whatever will assist them. Most won't come out and say they need help, but we all enjoy the help we do receive.

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