February is typically a celebrated month of love with flowers, chocolates, and paper valentine hearts. In another community, love and hearts are celebrated and remembered differently. That community is one affected by the #1 birth defect in the United States, congenital heart defects.
Approximately, one in every 100 babies born in the United States each year will be born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect (CHD). Many of these children are diagnosed just in time for their little lives to be saved, but sadly many die as result. Families who have children with CHDs are thrust into a world of medical terminology, invasive surgery and days in a hospital where they do not know what to expect next. This is why on December 23, 2012, Governor Pat Quinn signed a proclamation stating that the week of February 7-14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week in Illinois.
In conjunction with CHD Week, Mended Little Hearts will celebrate and remember little hearts with events throughout the Chicagoland area. MLH, started in 2004, is a national support volunteer-run program for parents and caregivers of children with heart defects, and is dedicated to inspiring hope in those who care for the littlest heart patients of all. MLH offers resources and a caring support network as families find answers and move forward to find healing and hope.
Funds raised during the month of February benefit Mended Little Hearts of Chicago’s care bag and heart angel memory box programs. Care bags are given to families whose children undergo life-saving open heart surgery at Lurie Children’s Hospital, Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital, Advocate Lutheran General Children’s Hospital and Rush Medical Center. MLH of Chicago provides care bags to let families know someone cares and that they are not alone. Families are connected to a caring support network and given educational materials and comfort items to help them cope. For parents who are grieving the loss of a child, there are no words to relieve the tremendous heartache and pain they feel. MLH of Chicago is creating ways of remembrance by commemorating a child's life by treasuring their most precious memories and keepsakes with a heart angel memory box.
The events begin on Thursday, February 7 at 6pm with a Tapping Night at Rock Bottom Brewery, 94 Yorktown Center in Lombard. Rock Bottom Brewery has created a specially brewed beer for Mended Little Hearts of Chicago and will donate 25 cents of each pint sold. Rock Bottom Brewery has other ongoing events throughout the month of February to benefit MLH of Chicago.
Other events throughout the month of February include a children’s cooking class at Wildfire-Chicago on February 9 at 11:30am, Cut-A-Thon for CHD at Cuttin’ Corners-Sandwich on February 10 from 1-3pm and Dine with Buffalo Wild Wings-South Elgin on February 11 and 10% of the proceeds go to MLH of Chicago.
Ending CHD Awareness Month is a cosmic candlelight bowl at Centennial Lanes, 16050 Centennial Circle in Tinley Park on Friday, February 22 at 8pm. This event was created in memory of Max, an infant who lost his battle against CHD. For just $25 participants will enjoy dinner and candlelight bowling. Cash bar is available. Take a chance and win one of the great raffle prizes. To purchase tickets, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (708) 439-0962(708) 439-0962(708) 439-0962708-439-0962.
For more detailed information about the events and Mended Little Hearts of Chicago, please visit Mended Little Hearts of Chicago’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mlhchicago or website at www.mlhchicago.org. Questions? Please contact Melanie Toth, Regional Group Coordinator, at email@example.com or 708-232-MLHC.