Every September 29th, we recognize World Heart Day — a day meant to inform people around the globe that cardiovascular disease, including congenital heart defects and strokes, is the world’s leading cause death and educate individuals on the behavioral changes that they can take to prevent and control cardiovascular disease.
At Starlight, many of the children we work with are living with a congenital heart defect (CHD), which affects around 40,000 babies a year in the U.S. Of these babies, about a third of them will need medical treatment within the first few weeks of their life, and then continued doctor visits and checkups as they get older.
In recognition of World Heart Day, we want to educate parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other caregivers about the common signs and symptoms for CHDs. They can include:
Blue-tinted nails or lips
Fast or troubled breathing
Tiredness when feeding
Swelling in hands, ankles, or feet
While some are diagnosed during pregnancy and others after birth, Starlight knows that a CHD diagnosis can truly change a child’s life — which is why it is so important that adults look out for the early signs of CHD.
Some kids will need routine checkups and tests done throughout their life as there is no cure for CHD. Others, like Kayleigh, will spend months in the hospital and undergoing many surgeries.
But Starlight knows that hospitals can be scary and lonely, especially for kids — and that’s where we can make a difference.
Starlight delivers happiness to seriously ill kids across the country, like Kayleigh, by providing Starlight Hospital Gowns, Gaming stations, Virtual Reality headsets, and so much more to help these kids feel like kids.