3/27/2013 1:24 PM
By Kim Edgren
It is a busy time of the year—Congenital Heart Walk time! Our 2nd Annual Boston Metro Walk is just around the corner and I am excited to again be involved in the planning. Stressful? Yes! Crazy busy? Yes! But one of the most rewarding experiences for so many reasons. Should you get involved? Yes, and here is why:
Community: At 46, with all my surgeries and procedures, I only know what I have been through and endured. I can relate to my fellow CHDers, but have not walked in their shoes. I can understand a parent’s perspective and worry but have never fully experienced it because my children are heart healthy. But, through this walk, I have had the opportunity to talk to so many folks in our community. I have learned so much! My perspective can be so different, but it is important that I understand my fellow CHDers perspectives the best I can. These walks are for and about all of us! We must make sure we find ways to support each other, honor the memories of those who have passed, and build a beginning for those yet to come. These walks give us that opportunity.
Educate: I was asked recently, “I know this is a stupid question, but what exactly does congenital defect mean?” Welcome to our world! CHD is the number one birth defect in America and so many people have no idea what we are talking about. Over the past year working on last year’s walk and this one, I have had so many conversations with people about CHD and so many responses of, “Wow, I had no idea!” We can change that! And we must change that to ensure that researchers, politicians, parents, and educators understand what having a congenital heart defect means and what needs to be done to ensure long-term care and health for all those affected. Last year, 291 walkers on Boston Common created visibility for the millions affected by CHD, helping raise awareness and funds to educate the public. Babies, children, teens, 30-somethings, 50-somethings—the faces of all of us. These walks create that opportunity.
Money: Show me the money! OK, some of my friends may be ready to disown me if they see one more plea for donations, but without money, we got nothin'! Congenital Heart Walks fund two great organizations: Adult Congenital Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation. These two organizations provide countless services to our entire community: research, advocacy that is making a huge impact, support, and community. We need all of these to help ensure continued improvements in our lives and in the lives of those to follow. It takes money, and these walks are generating a lot of it. Without funding, there are limits to what can be done, at a time when strides are being made. Congenital Heart Walks continue to create that opportunity.
Fun: There are far too many occasions for us CHDers and for those who care about us that are not fun. In fact, some of those occasions downright stink. As in many things in life, finding the joy is what can keep you going. Last year, we gathered on the Common, seeing the faces of our community: parents who had lost those they love but came out to walk; parents of the little ones not knowing what to expect in the future but finding hope in talking with adult CHDers; and adult CHDers representing many ages and struggles. It was truly heart-lifting and inspirational. Finding fun while doing good is a bonus. And, the walks create that opportunity.
So? What are you waiting for? Join us! I am looking forward to April 27th, as I know so many others around the country are looking forward to a walk near them—click here to find and register for a walk near you! I hope to be part of planning these walks for years to come, enduring all the stress and craziness leading up to it, so that I can savor the joy and community the day brings.
Kim Edgren was born in 1966 with transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and ventricular septal defect. She recently became the proud owner of a Melody valve! When she is not trying her hand at writing she is busy spending time with her partner and three girls, managing her two child care centers and planning her next vacation.
Copyright ©2013 ACHA
2 comment(s) so far...
By denise on
3/28/2013 8:14 AM
Re: Why Should You Walk?
Thinking of you often as you prepare for the walk and fundraiser (I admit, Karen has some input on that) But I'd like to wish you the best of luck in reaching financial goals and continuing to spread the word of this disease. Also crossing fingers for a beautiful day of Spring for the day of the walk.
By Karen Calhoun on
4/23/2013 7:55 AM
Re: Why Should You Walk?
Walking, the best exercise we can do without any restriction. Sometimes walking is enough to keep us stay fit and active. Our body needs to move, we can notice that if we are not physically active, we are weaker to those who perform and do some exercises. Let us all walk for a cause, cause in a way for us to be healthier.