Friday, May 30, 2014

A New Season Brings Growth, Change and a New Home!

Dear Heart Friends:

I'm excited to announce that we have moved over all of the VoiceAmerica radio shows from Season One of "Heart to Heart with Anna" to BlogTalkRadio! :-) It was a big change and what was exciting was that in deleting all the references to VoiceAmerica, we had a little bit of extra time left over so we actually had some of our former Guests call in and add a little bit more information at the end of the show. We also took questions and callers from the Internet so even "old" shows became new again! Go to our Heart to Heart with Anna website to see a listing of all of the Season One shows with direct links to each show.

We learned a lot from Season One of the radio show. One of the things we learned in moving all of the shows over to a new network is that some people prefer a 30-minute show. To accommodate those people, we will be conducting interviews of our Guests for the first 30 minutes of our show and then the last 30 minutes will be Question and Answer time with Callers or people in our chatroom. To be able to chat, people must sign up with BlogTalkRadio. It's free and you don't have to have your own radio show, but you do have to sign up for it. Instead of taping our shows, we'll be doing them live! The great thing about this is that it's very spontaneous and fun. The down side is that sometimes we have technical trouble (like with the very first show of the 2nd Season!) BUT the good thing is that with BlogTalkRadio we have access to our studio around the clock and we can fix mistakes if we need to and then re-broadcast the show.

We have an exciting line-up of new shows and are looking for Expert Guests. Go to the Heart to Heart with Anna website and look on the Be On the Show link to see what our list of topics is for Season Two. There is a simple form to fill out if you are interested in being on the show. The show will usually feature two Guests for the first 30 minutes and then the Q & A session following the formal interview. We have a wide variety of topics that should appeal to most members of the congenital heart defect community.

Callie Rickard, our graphic designer and editor of the Heart to Heart with Anna newsletter (look under the Newsletter link to see former issues) created a new logo for the new season! I love the little boy holding the heart balloon. Special thanks to Dara Glagola for recommending the sunset background. We love the colors and the feel of the new logo for Season Two.

We are now looking for topics for Season Three. If you have any ideas for new show topics, please let us know. We haven't had trouble coming up with topics but we love to see what our Listeners want to hear. We hope that you are as excited about the growth and changes we've seen happening with the radio show as we are!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Athlete Heart Screenings

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had been waiting about a week for the appointment. Joey, my heart-healthy son, was having an athlete heart screening.

For years I had been worried that perhaps Joey had a heart defect, too. When I voiced concerns to Joey's pediatrician, he assured me that if Joey had a problem, we would know. He was healthy and he had no reason to recommend in-depth testing for Joey, despite the research I found that had been conducted by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia which showed that first and second degree relatives of children with left-sided heart defects (like my younger son, Alex was born with) had a much greater chance of having undiagnosed congenital heart defects. The research didn't sway him.

When I heard that there was a free athlete heart screening in Waco, I took Joey and we were the first ones there. As we entered the examination room, I explained to the technician that Joey was a state swimmer, but his brother was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. I asked them if we could specifically look at Joey's ascending aorta and all of his valves.

The technicians were so kind to me. It was a beautiful echocardiogram -- the most beautiful, textbook perfect echo I'd ever seen. The equipment was brand new and everything was so clear.

I was able to hold back until I reached the car before I burst into tears. Joey tried to reassure me, "Mom! It's okay. I'm fine." But his words couldn't stop the tears. I had been so worried for so long and I didn't even realize how worried I'd been!

What's really wonderful is that a friend shared with me a free young athlete heart screening going on in my home town of Temple, Texas. I even set up a Facebook Event for the screening. Now other families won't have to worry about their heart-healthy children. I only wish this had been available when Joey was younger. It would have saved me needless worry.

As if this isn't wonderful enough, a Toastmaster friend, Kevin McGrath, shared another URL with me that will benefit teens in the Central Texas region. One of Kevin's coworkers and his wife (Jim and Michelle Garcia) started the Championship Hearts Foundation which provides free heart screenings for athletes, marching band, cheer and drill team members -- and any student 14-18 years of age. Unbeknownst to me they've been around for 13 years. I strongly encourage everyone to share this URL and this information with others.

You never know when a heart screening might save a life.