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Raising awareness for congenital heart disease didn’t become a priority for our family until our son Watson was diagnosed with multiple severe heart defects when I was 20 weeks pregnant. Heart defects are the most common birth defect in America and 25% of children with a heart defect, require open-heart surgery within their first year of life to survive. Congenital heart disease does not have a cure, surgeries can mend the heart, but they are not fixed. Our son Watson, had his first open-heart surgery at six months old and he will be having another one next year. His condition is incredibly complex. His diagnosis is technically called Double Inlet Left Ventricle(DILV), and Transposition of the Great Arteries(TGA). There are smaller defects that go hand in hand with this diagnosis. The easiest way to explain Watson’s heart is that he only has one ventricle. Instead of a right pumping chamber and a left pumping chamber, he has one doing all the work. This puts a lot of strain on the heart. There is a series of surgeries he will complete next year that reroute the blood flow to his heart and lungs. The reality is that, although these surgeries provide him the opportunity to live a life like you and me as much as possible, it is a lifelong battle that he will fight. Watson will need specialized care into adulthood, and possibly a heart transplant. The cause of congenital heart defects is unknown and they occur in 1% of children. The children’s heart foundation funds the most promising research in congenital heart disease. Without the groundbreaking advancements that have been made in just the last 35 years, Watson would not be with us today. It is so important to our family to do anything we can do to better the outcome of our sons future and continue on with big advancements in care for Congenital Heart Disease.
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