I walk because I know that I am saving lives like our son Ricky's with every step.
As many of you know, Jamie and I found out at week 25 of her pregnancy that our son, Richard Collier Hundorfean II ("Ricky" or "Ricky Jr.”) has a severe congenital heart defect (CHD). Since then, baby Ricky has undergone constant testing, scans, and monitoring by the Cardiology Team at MUSC's Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital, two lifesaving procedures at Boston Children's Hospital, and will require another before the year is out. Through these continued challenges, we couldn't be any prouder or more amazed of our son for his strength, more grateful for the love and support of our families, or more thankful for the care teams who watched over our little one long before he was born. Their determination to achieve better outcomes and dedication to innovations in medicine have allowed us to give Ricky every opportunity for a long and healthy life.
A CHD diagnosis for new parents is earth-shattering, but because of the generous support given to the study and treatment of these diagnoses, there is hope.
That brings me to the purpose of our donation campaign. My hospital, MUSC Rehabilitation Hospital, located in Charleston, South Carolina, was selected as one of the main sponsors for the 2023 American Heart Association Lowcountry Heart Walk. This event aims to help raise critical funds that allow the American Heart Association to do what they do best – work with researchers, medical experts, community leaders, businesses, and families to increase overall cardiac health and raise awareness of tools and resources available for the community.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the most recent data published by The Children's Heart Foundation, approximately 25% of babies like Ricky, who are born with a congenital heart defect, will require surgery or another intervention in their first year of life to survive. My hope is through this event and others like it, we can increase awareness and help raise the necessary funds to improve treatment options, increase survival rates and improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with CHD.
Please consider donating to this worthwhile cause; the impact your $1 will have on a CHD family like ours is immeasurable.