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Leadership Update: Weathering Sandy, Giving Thanks

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

Thanks so much to all the members who expressed concern about how ACHA fared during Philadelphia’s recent bout with Hurricane Sandy. The city declared a state of emergency October 28th and all Philadelphia businesses, including ACHA, were ordered closed for two days. Although the storm did bring widespread power outages and blocked roads to our area, the damage was much less severe than regions closer to the coast, and things returned to normal quickly. In our neighborhood, Halloween still brought its usual hordes of trick-or-treaters, stepping around the many branches still blocking the sidewalks.

But across the river in New York and New Jersey, gas rationing was introduced and many houses remain powerless. Local volunteers made the difficult decision to postpone the New York City Congenital Heart Walk, originally scheduled for November 17th. Sandy’s visit has been a stark reminder of how much we take for granted, including basics such as heat, light, and clean water. In interview after interview, those who lost homes in the storm declare how lucky they are that their family is safe, and remind us that possessions, unlike people, can always be replaced.

On a more personal note, the storm did not feel truly over for me until I had my arms around my daughter, home from college after weathering Sandy in Brooklyn. As we head into November, I suspect this not-so-gentle reminder of what is important will make many of us hold our loved ones a little closer this Thanksgiving.

With all systems now up and running, here in the office we are finalizing plans for all our new and ongoing 2013 activities. These efforts have been helped by the addition of new ACHA staffer Laura Morris, who joins us as our new Director of Programs. Laura comes to ACHA with more than ten years of experience helping organizations effectively improve the lives of individuals facing adversity. Laura and the rest of our program services team are hard at work mapping out all the goalposts for 2013 success as we expand our education, support, research, and advocacy activities. All of these plans then get translated into numbers—what it will cost, and when, to get what done—as we build our 2013 budget. The fuel for all these activities is the funding that ACHA receives from foundations, corporations, and donors like you.

Throughout ACHA's end-of-year giving campaign, you will learn exactly what your donation allows ACHA to provide to our members. Whether you donate $10, $100, or $1,000, your contribution will allow ACHA to bring congenital heart survivors throughout the United States the support, information, and resources they need to thrive. Thanks in advance for your generous support, and I hope each of you has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Amy Verstappen
ACHA President/CEO

Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012