... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

No Greater Love

The aim of 7th WCPCCS held this year in Barcelona was to bring together all professionals and caretakers involved in the care of children’s heart disease and congenital heart disease of all ages, from the fetus to the aged.

This Organization had heart and soul! What an amazing group of people! Advocates in part from Indonesia, USA, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Spain, Mexico, Malaysia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda, Argentina, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, India, the Philippines, Israel, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, Jamaica, Columbia and Canada were all represented. All coming together to fight CHD. And to form a new global organization to make sure every heart child lives a long and healthy life–no matter where they are born.

I heard from the young man from India who has a CHD and he shared that in his country, famous for its prearranged marriages, that if one or the other to be intended has a CHD, this information is not released by the family.

In Malaysia, generally, the topic is simply not discussed. Grace, a young woman from that country and also a CHD survivor, knew of no one else in her country with this disease. In Malaysia, CHD has also been the major cause of mortality for women and men since early 1970’s. In one study, about half of the respondents studied in Kelantan had low education and income levels, had average knowledge, attitude and practice on CHD.

Indonesia has a very small heart community. The young man representing his people is the father of a CHD child. If his baby survived the surgery, he made a promise to work in his community to support other families with CHDs and since 2011 has helped over 1000 families. He had us all laughing when he said that the people prefer to believe in magic as a healer, because they believe it helps and doesn’t cost as much as surgery.

And then of course, I had the great fortune of meeting these two Mama Bears pictured here with me, Hannah and Monique. They nicknamed me the Book Lady as I was the only person they’d met who has written a book about my and my son’s journey with CHD.

Both of these brave women’s sons were born with a heart defect. Monique is from Cape Town, S.A. and vowed that once her son survived surgery that she would donate her time helping others. Not only does this single mother of three raise her babies alone, she offers up her lunch hour to go to the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital to console families in need. She has established the Heart of Hope Support Group. It is her dream to establish a Heart of Hope House for those needing housing during a loved one’s hospital stay. And we’re accompanied by Hannah from the Philippines. Hannah is Co-Founder and Director at Let it ECHO. When Hannah’s child was born with a CHD, she had no money to pay for an operation and care so she raised money on line and her non profit has helped hundreds of other families pay for the costs of their heart surgeries and care since then. These are warrior heart mamas! I was in mighty fine company. We come from different corners of the world, but forged a friendship that thanks in part to social media, I am sure, we will treasure forever.
These women reinforced in me once, no twice again, that there is no greater love than a mother’s love.

Monique and Hannah, look up–He just did it again. Love you amazing, selfless women!