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Leadership Update: Happy Valentine's Day!

This is the leadership update from ACHA's February e-newsletter.

February is a special month for the congenital heart community, as we promote congenital heart awareness and remind the world that for some of us, hearts are more than Valentine's Day decor. Since 2005, a centerpiece of ACHA's awareness activities has been bringing patients, families, and providers to Congress to ask for greater government action for the CHD community. At this years' Congenital Heart Lobby Day activities, held February 29 and March 1, we will be hosting our first-ever congressional briefing on CHD issues. The next day, attending patients, families, and providers will sit down with their own lawmakers to explain why it is imperative that they act now to fund research and public health activities to help congenital heart patient live longer, better lives. I hope that many of you will join me in D.C. to speak up, have fun, and participate in democracy in action. Can't get to DC? ACHA will be letting all our members know about opportunities to contact your lawmakers and add your voice to the in-person efforts.

February is also the month when "love" appears everywhere, from the newspaper ad touting diamonds to the embroidered tummy of the dancing monkey at my local drugstore. The question of the meaning of love has plagued philosophers for centuries, although we probably all agree that it does not have to do with diamonds or dancing monkeys. For me, living with CHD has given me some unique understanding of what those four letters really mean. As I have gone through the challenges that come with my funky heart, the people who love me have been with me every step of the way. Love has meant driving me to appointments, vacuuming my house, taking care of my kid, and listening when I cried. It's the many hours my care providers have spent with me, patiently answering my questions and helping guide my way through the scary and difficult decisions I have faced. The two things that have been essential to thriving with my heart have been excellent medical care and love.

My story is not unique, and when congenital heart patients and families share stories, we talk about beloved relatives, friends, and care providers taking that extra step to help us get through our heart challenges. This month we are inviting all our members and supporters to honor this love in a special way and make a special donation in honor of those who have helped you in your heart journey. Thanks to the generosity of the Meil Family Foundation, every donation made in February will be matched 50%, meaning that your donation of $50 will mean $75 goes to ACHA and its mission. Any loved one you designate will also get a notice that tells them about your special Valentine's Day gift to them. Please join me in honoring your special "heart team," and help congenital heart patients continue to thrive throughout the lifespan.

Thanks for your support,

Amy Verstappen
ACHA President/CEO

Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012