It’s that time of year to kick off The Paper Heart Project.
You may be wondering what The Paper Heart Project is.
This project is a campaign to spread awareness about Congenital Heart Defects also known as CHDs.
You may be asking yourself what is a Congenital Heart Defect? A congenital heart defect is a defect in the heart structure that is present at birth. One out of a hundred children are born with a CHD.
There are many different types of CHDs and children can suffer from one defect or multiple defects. The severity of the defect can range from mild, meaning a child will need no treatment, to terminal, the defects will ultimately take the child’s life.
Congenital Heart Defects are severely under researched and underfunded. Therefore, the more awareness individuals can spread the more funding the heart community hopes to gain.
Anyone can participate in this project. You also do NOT need to be a photographer either. The requirements are as followed.
You simply take a photo of a paper heart. If you have had heart surgery draw a “zipper” or scar on your heart.
You can photograph just the paper heart or you can include the whole family. You can get as creative as you would like.
I would like to mention that my children LOVE joining in this project each year. It has become a yearly tradition to shower our house with paper hearts during the month of February.
Next you will post your photo to any social media outlet you wish. Many people like to post their image in multiple areas.
Finally, hashtag your post with the following hashtags: #paperheartproject and #CHDAwareness.
Many people, including myself, like to add facts about congenital heart defects to help educate others about the topic. This is not a requirement and is your choice.
It’s important to encourage others to join in on this campaign after you post your image. Many people are not aware that ANYONE can join in. Last year thousands of people participated in this project and took the internet by storm with their beautiful paper hearts.
You may be wondering why I created this campaign.
Congenital Heart Defects are a big part of my life. My 4-year-old son SJ was born with 10 different CHDs. He has undergone 3 open heart surgeries, 1 intestinal surgery and 75 other procedures that include sedated MRIs, Heart Caths, x-rays and Eco’s, just to name a few.
As you can see, the pediatric heart world is a big part of my world. February is heart month and I use this time to take the opportunity to spread awareness about CHDs.
Since my son was born, I always thought of ways I could spread awareness during the month of February. The first year I posted photos and facts daily to my social media accounts in hopes to educate my fellow friends and family.
I always felt a pull to spread more awareness. I was unsure how to go about doing it. One day, my daughter and I were cutting out hearts as I broke the news to her that her brother was going to have another open-heart surgery. In those moments, The Paper Heart Project was born.
In the first year, we were able to spread so much awareness. In following years, it tripled.
Please join in the fun of sharing your paper hearts with us this month. When you spread awareness you in turn give other heart families more hope.