Welcome to MJ's Congenital Heart Walk Personal Page
Thank you for visiting my Congenital Heart Walk personal fundraising page.
This year's walk in Denver lands just over two months after I will have undergone my second open heart surgery in less than 5 years. I was born with a murmur that my pediatrician identified; but he assured me it was nothing to worry about. So I didn't. For 20 years every doctor would say, "do you know you have a murmur?" And I would respond, "oh, yes; it's nothing." Fortunately, in college, I found myself at a University hospital where I finally learned that that murmur was caused by a bicuspid aortic valve, a condition I've had since birth. For those who don't know (I didn't), the aortic valve should be tricuspid - meaning it has three leaflets, not two.
So now I had an answer for the cause of my murmur, but I still didn't really think twice about it. I had an echo every couple of years and moved on with my life. Fast forward about 5 years when I ended up in Philadelphia where, at the ripe old age of 27, I had to quit playing soccer and couldn't make it up the subway steps. I found myself at another University hospital where I learned that that ticker of mine needed some TLC - namely, a new aortic valve. Terrified, I prepped for open heart surgery. I opted for a bioprosthetic valve because this then-28-year-old wanted a baby. I thought I'd get ten good years out of that valve. I was sure that at the rate medicine was moving, ten years would provide a solution to all my heart problems. OK, so that may have been unrealistic; but I did hope I'd have more time with that valve so I could join my crazy active 2-year-old in the backyard each night. Alas, it's 4.5 years later, and here we are - another surgery. I promised my perfect baby girl lots of nail painting and books in the hospital (she currently equates the hospital with the spa). And because I had my surgery at Children’s Hospital Colorado, she also got the added perks of hanging with firefighters and NFL mascots and some of the best cardiac ICU nurses around when she visited me in the hospital.
On the medical front, I wasn’t ready to make the leap to a mechanical valve (a.k.a. blood thinners). So, I opted for another bio valve. My surgeon got a nice big valve in there; but unfortunately, I also was gifted a spanking new pacemaker following the relatively complicated surgery. So here I am, even more reliant on medical technology and hopeful for continuing research developments in that technology. I'm hoping you can help me raise money for research to ensure that next time I have the latest and greatest medical options available. Or, I'd love to have you join me and that crazy toddler at the walk in October to celebrate another successful surgery alongside my fellow surgery warriors, wearing our scars with pride.
If you are willing to help, join my team or consider making a tax deductible contribution to support my fundraising efforts on behalf of The Children’s Heart Foundation and the Adult Congenital Heart Association. All funds raised benefit CHD research and programs.
Thanks for your support!
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