CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8798 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Feb. 13, 2001
February 14 declared Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
IOWA CITY, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has declared Feb. 14, Valentines
Day, as a special day of awareness about congenital heart disease, the most
common birth defect in the United Sates.
Approximately 32,000 babies are born in the United States with congenital
heart disease. More than one million Americans are currently living with congenital
heart defects nationwide.
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day was first proclaimed in 1999. Since
then, governors and mayors across the nation and in other countries have joined
the effort to increase public awareness of congenital heart disease.
"Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day is a wonderful opportunity to
help everyone become more aware of the challenges faced by families with children
who were born with heart disease," said Deb Johnson of Iowa City, herself
a mother of a child with a heart defect. "It also helps families realize
that they are not the only family that is affected by congenital heart disease,
and learn where they can turn for support."
Organizers also say they hope that Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
will build support for increased funding for research efforts and educational
services for patients and their families.
"We have many more treatments for congenital heart disease than we did
even just a few years ago," said Dianne Atkins, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist
in the Children's Hospital of Iowa. "With all of the advanced treatments
we can provide, a child born with a heart problem is often able to live a
long, healthy life."
To celebrate Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, a Valentines party
is scheduled from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Activities Therapy Gym,1 JPP,
at the Children's Hospital of Iowa. The event is for friends and family of
children with congenital heart defects, medical staff who care for children
with congenital heart defects and anyone interested in learning more about
congenital heart defects. The party will be hosted by Heart Friends, a support
group for parents who have children with congenital heart defects. Please
contact Lisa at (515) 253-2368 if you wish to attend.
Additional information about Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day is available
online at www.tchin.org/aware.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care,
medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI
Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.