By Stephanie Hodgson
17 Feb

ACHA Making a Difference Today

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Nothing cures like devotion. ~Danielle LaPorte

In going to my latest ACHD appointment, after wanting to cancel at the last minute, I showed up. Even after the disappointment of the "Big Game" Super Bowl loss here in North Carolina, I could sense the lagging energy, but the nurses and staff and my doctor showed up.

We all showed up!

My appointment came right before my twin sister and I were to drive up to attend the ACHA awareness event at The Today Show on Friday, February 12. She and I had invited our friend and her two daughters. They have never been to New York City, and I thought it would give them a great reason to get to experience it. In addition, they could also learn about CHD and about the events ACHA and its members organize to bring awareness to the number one birth defect we live with, and to give precedence to the fact that we are still here living well into adulthood.

We keep showing up.

I would not recommend driving through a polar vortex to get anywhere, as crazy as it seems, but we did. We made it safely to New York City, as scheduled, but in the back of my mind was The Today Show's polar vortex forecast by Al Roker. And knowing we would have to drive back towards it, after the event, began to unnerve me.

But we keep showing up!

I was happy to meet some of my fellow bloggers from ACHA for the first time: Kim Edgren, Michael Pernick, and Robert Grabel. And seeing Lynn Cohen, ACHA’s Community Services Coordinator, was a comfort. She brought all the necessary awareness items, like temporary tattoos with the ACHA logo, signs, and flyers. And she supplied hand warmers for everyone!

We showed up, prepared.

It is especially heroic to continue showing up at these types of events over the years. More than a decade ago, my twin sister and I and a dear friend went up to the capitol building in Albany, NY, for the signing by Governor Pataki to make February 14 CHD Awareness Day. We drove in cold weather to be there. Another time, I took a train down from New York City to the first Washington, D.C. Lobby Day. I remember the day was also so cold.

We keep showing up.

And as a whole, we definitely make a difference. We showed up and we gave a big shout out, that ACHA IS making a difference today.

And the proof is in those who devote their time and energy to show up, even with a nosebleed, even with purple lips and a swollen face, even only a few months after having open heart surgery to replace a valve. And a polar vortex won't stop us.

We'll keep showing up.

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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.