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ACHA’s Journey of Growth

Friday, December 21, 2012

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,


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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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