This is the leadership update from January's e-newsletter.
I became a member of the congenital heart disease community 32 years ago when our obstetrician said we needed to go immediately to meet with a cardiologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Since then I’ve been a frightened parent, a grateful recipient of highly professional medical advice, a parent in denial regarding the impact of my child’s heart defects, a proud father, a loyal donor, and recipient of the support of ACHA and the adult CHD community.
Every day in ACHA’s office in Philadelphia you’ll find a smart, devoted and passionate group taking action to improve the lives of my child and the hundreds of thousands who also need emotional, physical and medical support that must come from their cardiologists, surgeon, you and me.
It is an honor and great responsibility to begin chairing the Board of Directors of our organization this year. My immediate predecessors Peggy Powers and Barry Meil have been champions in our mission to improve the lives of those with CHD.
2013 was a year of success and transition. Congenital Heart Walks involved more than 11,000 participants, overall ACHA membership (both patient-family and medical professional) grew by 15%, 1,024 people attended 14 educational webinars, and Heart to Heart Ambassadors and ACHA member services staff provided support to 1,163 people. Our partnerships with organizations like The Children’s Heart Foundation, Mended Little Hearts and the American College of Cardiology have helped us build awareness for CHD as a lifelong disease.
Many thanks to those who have served ACHA, our past President/CEO Amy Verstappen, our many board members, donors and members. We will enter this year with new leadership, a greater focus on identifying those adults and soon-to-be adults with CHD, and a focus on broadening our financial support.
I look forward to 2014 inspired by the importance of our mission and the devotion and hard work of so many. I especially look forward to seeing many of you at ACHA’s 7th National Conference in Chicago in September!
ACHA Board Chair