Thump, Thump, Thump…
What is that sound?
VINCENNES, Ind. –It’s the sound of a beating heart and the Indiana Department of Transportation has a lot of heart!
A human heart, something so small but so important to each and every one of us. Recently Indiana celebrated Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week and that’s thanks to none other than one of our own engineers, Bryan Veale and his wife Jessica. They welcomed their second son, Eli, in October of 2010. Big brother Zachary and the entire Veale family were elated to finally meet their new addition. It wasn’t until after a few weeks of small trials and tribulations that it was discovered Eli had issues with his heart. Be it all so tiny, it was working harder than a normal adult. This was because after many tests it was diagnosed Eli had multiple heart defects which makes each day, each hour, each minute a struggle for him. The right side of his heart is non-functioning; he lives each day with only half of his heart. Eli has had 2 open heart surgeries with a third planned in the near future, however, this surgery will not “fix” little Eli’s problem. The goal for Eli is to provide him as much quality time until his defective heart can no longer function. At that time a transplant will be in order, but that too brings its own concerns, complications and the worry of if a matching heart can be found. In his two short years he has been subjected to two open heart surgeries, two heart catherizations, two surgeries for feeding tube placement, a colonoscopy, two EGDs, and multiple blood draws, echocardiograms, EKGs, x-rays, doctor appointments, and months of therapies. Despite all that he is a happy little boy who has taught his family and many others to really appreciate “the little things” in life.
Many people do not know much about CHDs and it is actually the most common birth defect. CHD currently affects 1.8 million families. It’s more common than childhood cancers, yet funding for research and treatment is much lower for CHDs. The Veale family is on a mission to increase awareness among the general public about CHDs and INDOT would like to help by sharing their message. By increasing awareness there is hope for an increase in funding for CHD research and treatment so Eli and others like him will have more options in the future.
Facts about Congenital Heart Defects:
© Congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect worldwide
© One in one hundred babies born in the US will have a congenital heart defect. That translates to nearly 40,000 babies each year in the US alone.
© Because the heart is formed so early in pregnancy, the defects are often present before most women know they are pregnant.
© CHDs kill nearly twice as many children each year than all forms of childhood cancer combined, yet funding for CHD research and treatment is five times less than for pediatric cancer research.
© As of January 1, 2012, all birthing facilities in Indiana are required to perform a simple, non-invasive pulse oximetry newborn screening to detect critical congenital heart defects. Indiana is one of less than five states in our country requiring this potentially life-saving measure for newborns.
What is a Congenital Heart Defect?
© A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a problem with the heart’s structure that is present at birth.
© Common defects include holes in the heart and misplaced, malformed, and/or missing valves,
vessels, and heart chambers.
© Heart defects often involve a combination of problems.
© At least 35 defects have been identified.
What Can I do to Help?
© Spread the word about Congenital Heart Defects.
© Become an organ donor. If you live in Indiana you can use this link to fill out a simple form https://www.donatelifeindiana.org/register/
© Donate blood. More than 50% of children born with a CHD will require at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime. A blood transfusion is often necessary after such a surgery.
The employees of the Vincennes District are proud to aid in the awareness of such a difficult disease. We encourage everyone to donate blood through your local chapter of the Red Cross. For the latest news and information about INDOT, please visit www.in.gov/indot or www.trafficwise.in.gov .
MEDIA CONTACT: Cher L. Elliott, Vincennes District, (812) 895-7310, firstname.lastname@example.org