On November 4th, about 130 people gathered at Anthony’s Lake Club in Danbury for our 7th Annual “Giving from The Heart” Gala. It was another successful night for our worthy cause thanks to our wonderful emcee Mr. James Clerkin who looked very handsome in his tuxedo and the talented Gala Committee, led by Susan Seeger and including Donna Arlands, Amy Bocompani, Cathy Davidson, Julie Head, Robin and Ali Moravsky, Amy Smith, Bernadette Schopfer. Thank you one and all for your hard work behind the scenes, we raised over $55,000 for CHD Research.
Unfortunately November and December were not great months for Matthew, with multiple trips to the emergency room and one admission to MSCHONY. He also had issues with tachycardia (fast heart rate at rest). He was placed on a Zio patch monitor for a week and the results confirmed what we knew about his tachycardia. His ECHO was normal for him and his blood work all looked good.
His heart’s conducting system was fine also.We resigned it all to the fact that he grew an inch and a half in 2 months and his heart had episodes of beating quickly simply to keep up with the demands of a growing boy!
In November, right around Thanksgiving my brother in law Tommy called me to see if I could help a previous co-worker of his in the NY assembly who had a cousin in Jamaica with a baby with a CHD. Her name was Akera Campbell, her Mom’s name Shanieek McCrae. I reached out to all involved and got a lot of information including Cardiac Notes from her Cardiologist Dr. Foster. This 10 month old baby was in the hospital with episodes of cyanosis (oxygen levels dropping) with four defects to her heart, Tetralogy of Fallot and no hope without corrective surgery.
We reached out to our contacts at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York and after many emails and phone calls, Matthew’s surgeon Dr. Bacha, Dr. LaPar and the team at Weill Cornell agreed to do the surgery pro bono. Someone came forward and paid for their flights anonymously and Baby Akera and Mom arrived in New York on Friday January 5th, Baby Akera was a very sick baby and was taken by ambulance to Weill Cornell at 2 am on Saturday. On Tuesday, January 9th Baby Akera had her open heart surgery to correct the four defects in her heart. Her recovery went well and she was discharged on Thursday, January 18th. and is currently staying in New York with family. She turned one on Sunday, February 11th and we are blessed and honored to have played a big role in saving this baby’s life! She will be returning home to Jamaica to her two older siblings, her Dad and her grandma in March.
I have been in contact with Dr. Mark Rodefeld recently and they are very close to a Fontan Blood Pump Prototype. This is very exciting news after fifteen years!
We have three large “Hug a Heart” Pillow Projects in the coming weeks:
Monday, February 26th, Sherman School
Monday, March 26th, Meeting Hill House School, New Fairfield
Thursday, March 29th, Washington Elementary School, Washington Depot.
Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
All 50 United States....boom!
We would like to ask you all to keep Brian Kozo in your thoughts and prayers, he received a new heart on February 1st.
We had a conference call last Thursday with our Board of Directors and we are dispersing close to $30,000 to some very exciting CHD Research Projects, not including Dr. Rodefeld’s project. Once all the recipients receive their IRB Approvals from their hospital, we will share their names!
Thank you to Bright Beginnings in New Fairfield for hosting a Bake Sale on Tuesday, February 13th .
Thank you also to Patterson Rotary Club who chose Matthew’s Hearts of Hope as one on their charities again this year, we are so appreciative of your continued support.
Thank you also to Pack 84 and Troop 48 of Sherman for lysoling and bagging over 350 heart pillows to prepare them for delivery to patients who like Matthew will undergo open heart surgery in the coming months at hospitals in New York, Boston and Westchester.
Lastly we are partnering with Stew Leonards for a Wine Tasting Event in April, please be on the look out for further details.
My apologies for our lack of contact in the last few months but as you can see we have been staying busy.
Thank you as always for all your support, prayers and love, we feel it more than you could ever know.
I hope this Valentine’s Day you feel as much love as we do, it is a gift and we treasure it!
"Giving From the Heart" - Matthew's Hearts of Hope Gala in Two Weeks
The Annual Matthew's Hearts of Hope Gala is only two weeks away! Join us on Saturday, November 4th at Anthony's Lake Club beginning at 6:00 pm for our annual "Giving From the Heart" gala event. Tickets are on sale now on our website - click HERE to purchase your tickets today. We hope that you will join us again this year as we continue to make an impact in the lives of children and their families who live with Congenital Heart Defects.
Our keynote speaker for this year's gala is Scott Leezer, Director of Government Affairs at the Federal Group, Inc. in Washington, D.C. Scott is an adult survivor of single ventricle heart disease and has undergone two heart surgeries – the first in 1989 – and has a permanent pacemaker. Scott is a health care lobbyist in Washington, D.C., with significant experience in the congenital heart disease advocacy. He started his career in health policy as an aide to Senator Dick Durbin.
Scott and his wife, Cortney, live in Frederick, Maryland with their son, Finley, daughter, Gemma May, and their dog, Ira. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, cooking, and listening to NPR.
There is so much more that can be done to make the lives of children born with Congential Heart Defects and we hope that you will join us on November 4th to learn more and show your support!
If you cannot be with us this year, please consider a donation in lieu of attendance. Every dollar goes toward this cutting edge research that is changing CHD warriors lives, one heart at a time!
With sincerest thanks! See you in two weeks!
Marie, Mike, Michael, Ryan and Matthew
For those who attended the "Giving From the Heart Gala" last November, we presented a video that shared a new project being conducted by a pediatric heart surgeon, Dr. Mark Rodefeld, at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, IN to treat children born with single ventricle heart defects.
After we played the video, we asked our audience to support Dr. Rodefeld and you did. MHOH was able to send a check to Dr. Rodefeld for $12,000 to help fund the Fontan Blood Pump.
I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Rodefeld just this week (image right) in Indianapolis to learn more about the project which I hope to be able to share with you at the Gala. He is so dedicated to trying to help these complicated CHD warriors and cares so much about giving them the opportunity at a full life.
In January, 2016 Matthew's Hearts of Hope presented a check in the amount of $5000 Dr. David Hoganson at Boston Chiildren's Hospital to fund a project which focused on creating BT shunts made from the baby's own umbilical vein. Pictured above, Dr. Hoganson receiving a check from MHOH Marie Hatcher.
GREAT NEWS! Faith (pictured on the right) is the first baby in the world to have a BT shunt made from her own umbilical vein! Thanks to Dr. Hoganson and the team at @bostonchildrens for making this miracle happen! @rudyf86