Mason, 3-years old, is a delightful and sweet little boy with a passion for adventure and fun. Mason loves to laugh and to see everyone around him laughing. He is a humorous character with a kind heart, who often thinks of others and their feelings. He really is a happy child, who has an infectious smile and a positive spirit. His passion is to bring joy and smiles to the faces of those he loves dearly and meets for the first time.
Mason was born with a rare, life threatening congenital heart defect, called Truncus Arteriosus, in which a single vessel comes out of the right and left ventricles, rather than forming a pulmonary artery and aorta. Because of this, Mason underwent major open heart surgery at Riley when he was 17 days old. The surgeons at Riley created a conduit to allow blood to flow to the lungs and a cow valve was placed inside the conduit. Mason’s surgery was a success and after ten days in the hospital, he returned home.
Over time, Mason will require lifelong follow up and care. Because the conduit and valve do not grow with Mason, he will require additional surgeries throughout his lifetime, throughout his childhood and adulthood. This is why Mason and children like him will benefit from research programs made possible through the AHA. The medical advances in cardiology give us hope that his surgeries will be easier and less frequent due to these advances.
Although young, Mason will grow up knowing that the AHA provides funding for research and awareness for anyone affected by heart disease and stroke. We are passionate about the research efforts of the AHA, especially childhood heart issues, and CHD. Many children are thriving with CHD and living longer lives. As these children grow into adulthood, it is critical that they have cardiologists who understand the complexity of their hearts as adults.
More and more people are being made aware that heart disease doesn’t impact a population of a specific gender, age, or demographic. Heart disease and stroke can affect anyone, of all ages, shapes and sizes. This awareness is spreading due to the great work of the AHA, and people are encouraged to look for warnings and symptoms as well as take better care of themselves and lead health lifestyles.
Jump Rope for Heart is a wonderful way for our family to give back to the American Heart Association and help other children who also benefit by the research and education that the dollars raised support.
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