40,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease (CHD) each year, which often requires extensive surgeries and procedures in the first year of their life. And while CHD can look different for every child, hospitalizations are likely frequent in their lifetime.
Frequent hospitalizations can feel daunting as kids with CHD navigate a complex medical journey of surgeries, cardiac procedures, and ongoing treatments. Hospitalized kids need resources that can help them manage pain and feel better emotionally and mentally, especially those with CHD.
Resources that let kids focus on creating shared experiences with family and healthcare providers or offer positive distraction can give kids strength and resilience.
For patients like Boston, who was diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) at birth, spending time in the hospital was not always pleasant. During Boston’s stays, he would face everything from uncomfortable hospital gowns to broken toys to boredom, but Starlight programs made his hospital experience much more enjoyable.
When Boston was three years old, he had open-heart surgery. During his hospital stay, he was given a Starlight Hospital Gown that is made with comfort and privacy in mind, which is important for kids who are Boston’s age. He also got to play video games on the Starlight Nintendo Gaming Station and was given a Starlight Toy Delivery – a stuffed animal! These Starlight programs brought Boston joy, helped combat his boredom, and made the hospital an easier place to be.
“[Starlight] has brought great memories and smiles to my son’s face during the worst times.” - Kayla, mom of heart warrior Boston
At 4 years old Amelia was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy and pulmonary hypertension, a congenital heart defect. A frequent visitor to the hospital, she most recently had heart surgery to place a Berlin heart. While in the hospital, she received a Starlight Hospital Gown with the pattern of a unicorn, which is something she loves. Starlight Hospital Gowns are an outlet for kids to express emotions and help replace anxiety with comfort.
“When it’s time to do [Amelia’s] OT or PT therapy, they always ask her if she wants a hospital gown...she says no and always picks out the Starlight unicorn gown.” - Rosie, mom of heart warrior Amelia
Boston and Amelia are two examples of the estimated 40,000 heart patients who are born each year and need essential resources to navigate the challenges of hospitalization with courage and confidence. But not all heart patients have these resources readily available to them – they need your help.
Heart patients need you to feel happier and more resilient. Donate to a Starlight program to support heart warriors today.