The CHD Awareness Quilt Project is more than a charity near and dear to my heart. It is a project I started 17 years ago after meeting so many families on the internet who were struggling daily with the congenital heart defect diagnosis. While researching one particular chd diagnosis of a friend, I connected with these families and became friends. I hadn’t met any of them but I knew I had to do something to help promote chd awareness.
I am not a great public speaker partly because my passion for promoting chd awareness builds up so much emotion in me that the river of tears flows swiftly without regard of who may see them. So I stay behind the scenes and let my passion for the subject speak through my writing.
Back in 2000, It was a journey through unfamiliar territory. I only knew about chd because a friend was born with Tetraology of Fallot. Nevertheless, I couldn’t sit back and do nothing. That was the birth of the CHD Awareness Quilt Project. https://www.chdquilt.org
Over the next few years, my “baby” grew and grew and grew. It really does “take a village”. The road was not traveled alone. At every turn, I met yet another individual, another family, all touched by CHD. I was often overwhelmed by the stories families shared. I laughed with them, shared their milestones and sometimes mourned with them through devastating losses. Ten years later, my life was touched directly by CHD. At the tender age of forty-nine, my baby brother was diagnosed with a chd that had gone undetected for all those years. The commitment to promoting chd awareness became personal.
As the Quilt Project grew, I stood in the wings watching the transformation. Not only do we make beautiful quilts to honor each child born with a congenital heart defect but we also work tirelessly to get AEDs in local schools and sports facilities that cater to youth sports nation-wide. So many wonderful people had a hand in building a stunning, beautiful public display. It was their passion that grew this project. It was and continues to be their commitment to show just how many people are affected by chd. When one child is born with chd, the whole family, Mom, Dad, grandparents, siblings are all affected by the diagnosis.
My dream has gone far beyond what I had first imagined. With the help of so many new-found friends who were as passionate about promoting greater public awareness of congenital heart defect, we became a 501C3 charitable organization.
I cannot even begin to thank all the wonderful members of the Board of Directors and the council members who forged on tirelessly to make those scraps of fabric once piled up on my living room floor into a breathtaking work of art!
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Helen Keller