Our kids represent the greatest hope for a healthy future, and one of our greatest areas of need. Open Your Heart is an opportunity in the Heart Ball where you can make a donation to help our children and future generations.
Over 36,000 babies born every year with a heart defect. More than 9 million kids overweight. 1 in every 4,000 infants has a stroke. These stats drive both our sense of urgency and our hope. With your help we can change these statistics.
A click on the pictures below tells the story. A donation to Open Your Heart will directly fund the programs and research to make our kids' healthy future a reality. So contact your local Heart Ball director. Or click the button. Or attend your local Heart Ball, and give as your heart guides you.
"Now I can do things other kids can do!"
Hi, my name is Thomas. I am ten years old and have a wonderful family. I am also as only child. I had a hole in my heart between the lower chambers of my heart, so when I was only 18 months old I needed open heart surgery. It made me feel like I was happy and glad to make it. Now I can do things other kids can do!
I've gotten better over the years and I have made good habits. I take my medicine everyday. I don't drink caffeine and I exercise. I like to play baseball and my favorite TV shows are Sports Center and Sponge Bob Square Pants. I can't do everything, but I have learned I am blessed to be alive and that some people are not that lucky.
My wish is for anybody who has a sick heart to get the same opportunity I did and get a better heart.
"I don't need medicine anymore."
My name is Natalia Bascunan but everyone calls me Talia. I'm in 2nd grade. I live with my mom and dad, I have a brother and a sister. We also have 2 dogs, a hamster and 2 corn snakes.
My heart is different than other kids because as the doctors tell me, it has a different sound. I had my first surgery at 10 days old. My second heart surgery was when I was in kindergarten and I went for a checkup and they found something in my aorta valve. I was very scared, I was afraid I was going to die. The doctors and nurses were so nice and they gave me this sleepy medicine and my dad took pictures of me, I looked crazy!! The doctors told me they were going to fix me and to not be scared, and that when I woke up my heart would be better.
Now I can play any sport I want to, except for tackle football, I always exercise and I try and eat good most of the time. I don't need medicine anymore. My favorite things to do are play outside and go swimming in the summer, my favorite sport is baseball. We have a lot of fun at our school doing jump rope for Heart, it's funny to watch the teachers jump rope.
My wish is for children with sick hearts to be strong and not to be scared, everyone is there to help you and kids get better faster than adults!
"God gave me a special heart."
My name is Cade and I'm 3 years old. I live with my Dad, Mom, 2 sisters and 1 brother. We have 2 dogs and some cats. I love my dog Chewbacca. We wrestle and play ball all the time.
My mom says God gave me a special heart. My heart had a bad connection and caused me to not get good blood to all parts of my body. My lungs filled up and I was very sick. I was almost 2 years old when the doctors figured out what was wrong and I had to have surgery to repair my heart.
I now have a pacemaker to help my heart work. My pacer box sticks up a little so I have to be careful not to bump it or it might crack. I feel pretty good right now and hope to some day play soccer on the big field. Exercise helps to keep my heart healthy so I love to run and play outside. I want the doctors to keep working on ways to make it easier for me and my heart friends when we need help. My family is very active with the Heart Ball and the Heart Walk. My cousins have Jump Rope for Heart at their school and I love that they help raise money to help kids like me.
My wish is that other kids with special hearts can find out about their conditions earlier so they can get better.
Cassidy Anne Collins
"I love telling my story to other kids."
Hi, my name is Cassidy and I am 11 years old. I live with my dad, my mom, my little sister, Caroline, my little brother, Chase, and my grandfather. I also have a dog named Latte' and I have a fish named Flitter. I love to write, to sing, and especially to act in plays.
I was born with a heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. When I was just 6 days old I had my open heart surgery. If I had not, I would have died. When I was 1 year old I went back in the hospital for a cardiac catheterization. I don't remember any of those times in the hospital when I was a baby. But I do remember when I had to go into the hospital for another catheterization when I was 8 years old. It was the scariest time of my life because my mom couldn't stay with me. My heart was O.K., though.
I am better now, but I still have a condition called pulmonary stenosis. I know this will need to be corrected one day. I do worry a little about having to go back to the hospital, so I hope it won't be for a long time. I don't have to take medicines and I try to keep my heart strong by eating healthy and playing a lot. Since I was 10, I have been speaking to kids for Heart. I have lots of fun and I love telling my story to other kids and getting them excited about hoops for heart and jump rope for heart. I want them to see that the money they raise helps kids, too.
My wish is that other kids with heart defects don't worry because doctors keep getting better at fixing hearts. And besides, worrying doesn't help anything.
"I love playing chase with my sister."
Hi. my name is Brady and I'm 3 years old. I live with my Mom, Dad, and sister Kayli. We have a dog named Lexy and a goldfish named Fishy. My Mom and Dad are always telling my sister and me that we are so special. But I am special in a different way. When I was in my mommy's tummy I had a stroke. No one knew until I was six months old! My mom told me that they started to notice that I would do everything with my left hand. At first they thought this was exciting because my Dad was a baseball player, he thought I would be a lefty pitcher. My parents soon realized that this was a much more serious problem.
I have been in all kinds of therapies and spend a lot of time in the car driving to and from doctor and therapy appointments. Therapy helps me learn to do things that other kid's brains are able to do on their own.
I was a little late doing things, but that's ok. I love playing chase with my sister Kayli. We also play outside, dance, jump and play sports. In fact, I love playing basketball so much. I could play it all day and night. My Mom and Dad always say how hard I work and how far I have come.
My wish is that people know that Heart not only helps kids with bad hearts, but also kids like me, who have had a stroke.