1. Donate Blood – Most children with a CHD that requires open heart surgery need at least one blood transfusion, and many, like our Jacob need 2 or more, then some of those children will have two or three surgeries. Without blood from donors like you they would loose their lives.
2. Donate Funds – I know most “typical” families like ours struggle with finances, but if you find it in your abilities, a donation to a reputable foundation goes a long ways. Research for CHDs is grossly underfunded. The Children’s Heart Foundation is one foundation that is dedicated to funding research of congenital heart defects. It is through this research that better repairs, like the arterial switch Jacob recieved, become available. There are many foundations that help fund research and help families, etc.
3. If you know of a local group in your area support the group – it doesn’t have to be through monetary donations either, often they can use helping hands in planning activities and fundraisers, etc.
4. Become an Organ Donor – I know of a number of children who are alive today because of heart transplants.
5. Work for a Cause – you can have your own mini fundraiser and donate the funds to an organization or family in need – Elizabeth’s Lemonade stand this summer was a huge success.
6. Educate – share what you know with others – you never know when you might be talking to a future parent of a child with CHD
7. Support, support, support – most important of all is the support you offer to families whose children are in the hospital due to CHD and other illnesses. A simple visit, a meal, a hug, all these are things that will change their lives and do far more than you could ever imagine.