Friday, December 31, 2010

A Cure for Heart Defects

Before his unexpected death on Nov. 29, Adventures of a Funky Heart author Steve Catoe wrote about making a plan to cure heart defects. As we close out 2010 and open 2011, I can't think of a sweeter wish, a better challenge, a greater goal. Here's a link over to Steve's blog.

Here's to a successful, productive and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We Pray for Children ...

In June 2009, Broken Hearts of the Big Bend held a gathering in Tallahassee called “Unite for Eliza.” We gathered to pray for the life of Eliza Huff, who was then awaiting a double-lung/heart transplant at Shands Children’s Hospital. At the request of Eliza’s mother, Sara, Eliza’s Aunt Mindy (Sara’s sister) read this poem at our gathering. 

That was the thing about Sara and Eliza, and their family. No matter what was going on, it seemed, they were always watching out and praying for others in trying or tragic circumstances and situations. I can say that about so many of our parents, and especially Sharon, Jennifer and Ashley, Dawn and Tim, KimH. They, including Sara, still reach out to others in need. 

Eliza died Dec. 26, 2009 after long, hard-fought battle for her life. I still pray for Eliza. And, I Pray for Children. This poem has stayed with me ...
We Pray for Children . . .
By Ina J. Hughes

We pray for children
    who sneak popsicles before supper,
    who erase holes in math workbooks,
    who can never find their shoes.

And we pray, for those
    who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
    who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
    who never “counted potatoes,”
    who are born in places where we wouldn’t be caught dead,
    who never go to the circus,
    who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
    who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
    who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those
    who never get dessert,
    who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
    who watch their parents watch them die,
    who can’t find any bread to steal,
    who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
    whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
    whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
    who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
    who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
    who like ghost stories,
    who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
    and never rinse out the tub,
    who get visits from the tooth fairy,
    who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
    who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
    whose tears we sometimes laugh at
    and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
    whose nightmares come in the daytime,
    who will eat anything,
    who have never seen a dentist,
    who aren’t spoiled by anybody,
    who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
    who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children
    who want to be carried and for those who must,
    for those we never give up on
    and for those who don’t get a second chance.
    for those we smother . . .
    and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
    kind enough to offer it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Scents and Memories

By Kim Rooks

Kim and Taylor after one of Taylor's
open-heart surgeries.
I think it’s interesting how a scent can take you back to the very day when you first smelled it, and how you can remember exactly what you were doing that day.

I washed my hands at the Shands cardiology clinic the other day and the soap is the same as one I used almost nine years ago, when I had to wash my hands before I could go see my baby girl for the first time in the Shands Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Taylor was 6 pounds, 9 ounces, with a heart rate of 60. 

Who knew the road we have traveled would bring fear, sadness, frustration, confusion and happiness. But most of all, it has brought family and friends closer, and introduced me to people I would never have met if we didn’t travel this road.

Taylor with her pediatric cardiologist, F. Jay Fricker.
Recently, our pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Jay Fricker, said something I thought I would never hear. 

In the past, he has said he doesn’t know what Taylor’s future holds. But that day, he said he thinks Taylor will be fine, and the only issue we will have to deal with is with her pacemakers. 

I'm so happy for our baby steps of miracles that she has had in her life. God makes things happen for a reason and we will never know why.

Kim Rooks is the mother of Taylor, who is now 9 years old. Kim is co-founder and co-executive director of Broken Hearts of the Big Bend. By day, she works with the Greater Southeast Affiliate of the American Heart Association. By evening, she is an independent consultant for several product lines. Taylor was born with congenitally corrected transposition of the greater arteries (meaning not only were her greater arteries reversed, but her ventricles were, too), a large ventricular septal defect and complete heart block. By the time she was 5 months old, she’d had a double-arterial switch, her VSD closed, and a pacemaker implanted. In all, Taylor has had more than 10 heart surgeries in her life, including two open-heart procedures. Today, she is thriving.