12/21/2012 11:05 AM
By Amy Verstappen
Every November, I plant an amaryllis. Amaryllis are magical plants whose giant flaming flowers arrive straight out of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Plant the fist-sized bulb, and watch as the sprout peeks up, slowly growing into a stem wider than your thumb. In a few weeks, a bulging bloom appears and travels up more than a foot on the thick, green stalk. Finally, the flower opens in all its glory, a wonderful addition to the New Year.
As ACHA approaches its 15th birthday in October 2013, it strikes me that ACHA is like an amaryllis. It began with a sprout: A small group of passionate patients and family members, dedicated to improving the lives of congenital heart survivors. It has been on a journey of growth, slowly building its program and impact, seeking a better future for those with CHD. We have traveled through many stages of growth, from a volunteer-run group with under 100 members to an organization with 12 staff and a membership more than 10,000. Thanks in part to ACHA’s efforts, national action on behalf of congenital heart survivors also has grown—2012 brought a number of breakthroughs in ACHD research and quality improvement efforts, beginning with Congress’ funding of the first-ever CHD-specific surveillance efforts and culminating in last week’s announcement that the American Board of Medical Specialties has approved a new ACHD subspecialty certification.
But to really flower, ACHA needs your support. In 2013, ACHA hopes to expand our program and activities to better serve our rapidly-growing membership. We want to expand our national advocacy efforts to ensure that these first steps of progress grow into the large-scale national investment needed to create a brighter future for the more than 2 million Americans now living with congenital heart defects. Your donation, large or small, will help us achieve ACHA’s vision of a normal life and a normal lifespan for every person born with a “funky heart.” We aren’t there yet, but with your help, I know we will get there.
Thanks in advance for your support,
Amy Verstappen is the President/CEO of ACHA. For more about Amy, click here.
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