Thursday, November 28, 2013

Feeling Thankful

Dear Heart Friends:

On this Thanksgiving Day I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful that my "heart" son is alive and well. I am thankful that my heart-healthy son is also doing well and coming home for Thanksgiving. I am thankful to be married to the most wonderful man in the world. I am very thankful that my family is getting together for the holiday, even though we will miss Alex.

Regarding Baby Hearts Press . . . I am thankful that I met Mary Black at a marketing workshop put on by the Writers' League of Texas a little over a year ago. She has changed my life. We came together to learn about marketing but what we learned was that there was too much to learn in a one-day class so we decided to meet on a weekly basis to help each other toward our goals. Mary has written the first draft of her book Peyote Fire and I have made a website and started a weekly talk radio show!

I am thankful for my heart friends -- old and new. This year in our travels Frank and I had the great pleasure of meeting with a number of heart friends in cities around North America. It was fun to share food, thoughts, memories and sometimes a few tears. Best of all it was fun sharing hugs and the knowledge that our deep friendships stand the test of time.

I am thankful for science and technology that has allowed so many of my family members to live longer and have a better quality of life. Cancer reared its ugly head in two of our family members but thanks to great treatments available, we'll be spending Thanksgiving with both of them. It is obvious that many of my dear heart friends wouldn't be with me today, or wouldn't have their loved ones with them, without the medical care available in today's day and age.

I am thankful for my country. I live in the United States and feel so thankful to be a citizen of the greatest country in the world. We have our problems, but dreams can still come true here. It is still the land of opportunity and I can't imagine living anywhere else. Of course I also feel blessed to be a Texan. My state is full of beauty and wonder but best of all, my state is full of sunshine and some of the kindest people anywhere.

I hope all of you have a lovely Thanksgiving today and for all of my heart friends who won't be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, like we Americans will, I hope you'll take just a moment to think about how many things you have to be thankful for.


Anna Jaworski

Please visit Baby Hearts Press at for resources for the congenital heart defect community.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Generosity of the Heart World

Sometimes you read a story and it touches your heart so deeply that you simply have to applaud the author and thank the publisher for letting the story come to light. That is certainly the case with Nick Malawskey's beautifully told story that features the Samaritan's Purse®. 4-Year Old Ugandan Boy Spared Death Thanks to Samaritan's Purse®. The most amazing thing is that the title of the piece is misleading because Samaritan's Purse® didn't just save one boy in this story -- they saved two.

I love articles which demonstrate the generosity of the Heart World. The community I belong to, simply because my son was born with a congenital heart defect, is like no other I know. The Heart World knows no boundaries. Doctors, nurses, physicians, survivors, angels, parents, grandparents, siblings, neighbors, authors, friends . . . the members of the Heart World are practically limitless, especially when you come to realize that heart defects are the Number One birth defect and that 1 in 100 children are affected by this birth defect around the globe.

Today I am going to highlight yet another special organization that helps children who would be lost if it weren't for the generosity of members of the Heart World. International Children's Heart Foundation is another organization that should be applauded for the amazing work they do. Charity Navigator gives this organization a remarkable overall score of 64.84 out of 70 -- making it one of the best charities I've seen regarding transparency and fiduciary care of contributions.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the ICHF, from the reading I have done, is their desire to train others in their own communities -- essentially putting the ICHF out of a job! But seriously, with the long waiting list of children needing help across the globe, there is scant chance this charity is going to disappear overnight. Still, I like the fact that they are training others to care for children with congenital heart defects and that they recognize that the Heart World spans the globe.

Interested in helping out? Medical Mission Trips are listed here. Of course the organization can use financial donations, too. Do you have the heart to help this organization?

Please visit Baby Hearts Press at for resources for the congenital heart defect community.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Baby Hearts Press Sponsors New CHD Radio Show!

Dear Heart Friends:

Tomorrow marks an historic day for Baby Hearts Press. For years Baby Hearts Press has prided itself on providing books and materials specifically for the congenital heart defect (CHD) community. When Baby Hearts Press first launched, back in 1997, the main way people got their information was from books and magazines. Shortly after that we started getting information via computers and then from the Internet!

At the time Baby Hearts Press was the only publishing company specifically for the congenital heart defect community. We wanted to provide messages of hope to others who had children or grandchildren with congenital heart defects. To our delight, it didn't take long before we also saw an increase in the number of children being born with congenital heart defects living to adulthood! Baby Hearts Press sought to serve this group of people, too, especially with books like The Heart of a Mother and The Heart of a Father.

Everything has changed today.  No longer do people rush to the library when they need information. Now people look on their computers, their tablets or their smart phones. More and more people are choosing to read "books" on their Kindle, Nook or other e-reading device. Audiobooks are more common than ever before and many people also choose to get their information from audiobooks or other sources that use audio as a platform.

With all of these changes in technology, it only seemed logical that Baby Hearts Press would change, too. Our latest venture is to move into radio! Not just any radio, but Internet radio with VoiceAmerica!

Consequently, tomorrow -- 11-12-13 -- Baby Hearts Press' new radio show -- Heart to Heart with Anna debuts! The topic of the first show is "You Are Not Alone" and features the following Guests:  Nancy and Jesse McCain [grandparents to Samantha McCain (HLHS)], Callie Rickard [mom to DJ (HLHS)] and adult survivor Carl Wolford (TAPVR).

If you would like to receive an eCard to the radio show, please go to this link: and fill in your name and email address.

We hope our readers will tune in to the show and enjoy hearing from others in the CHD community. You are Not Alone and through this radio show, we can all come closer together, share our stories and become empowered advocates in the CHD community.

Please visit Baby Hearts Press at for resources for the congenital heart defect community.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Raising Awareness: Horseback Riding for a Reason

Dear Heart Friends:

Imagine 1200 horses and riders all coming together for a cause -- heart disease. Imagine you are amongst those 1200 riders, but you are only 12 months old and the reason you are there is not to support Grandpa, but rather yourself. You are there because twelve months prior you were in a surgical operating room and your parents and grandparents were waiting for a miracle to happen. They were waiting for a surgeon to operate on your walnut-sized heart to save your life.

This was the case for little Noah (Riding Horses to Support Heart Disease). The title of the article I read was a bit misleading:  Riding Horse to Support Heart Disease -- they aren't really supporting heart disease, but rather riding horses to raise money for the American Heart Association which does a great deal to fund research related to heart disease.

What surprised me a good deal about this article was that it was the 32nd Annual American Heart Association Beach Ride. This ride probably started out to help people with acquired heart disease, but I found it heartwarming to read about how a family with congenital heart disease took part (and over a dozen of their friends) to raise awareness of how heart disease does not only affect the elderly -- but even tiny, newborn infants.

There are some members of the congenital heart defect community who don't support the American Heart Association because only pennies of every dollar they raise actually goes toward congenital heart defect research; however, they raise so much money per year (the fundraiser described above raised more than $250,000 alone!) that the amount of money they contribute to research regarding congenital heart defects is significant and shouldn't be taken for granted. In an article in the monthly publication Circulation (Circulation October 29, 2013) the new President of the AHA, Jan Breslow, MD, addresses why everyone should support the AHA.

He talks about the underfunding by the United States government of research related to heart disease and stroke. He also specifically addresses congenital heart disease because the AHA is addressing the development, biologically, of the heart. While that research may not help people like my son, who is a young adult with congenital heart disease, they are right to try to determine the cause of congenital heart defects so we can prevent people from being born with defective hearts. If we could prevent hearts from developing problems in utero, or discover means to help a developing heart to grow correctly, many of us "heart parents" would be relieved of ever having to hand our babies, like Noah, off to a surgeon just days after birth.

I encourage all of us in the heart world to work together to raise awareness of heart disease -- whether it's acquired or congenital, to fund research for answers to the many questions we have to be united. We will gain so much more by being united!

Please visit Baby Hearts Press at for resources for the congenital heart defect community.