Why? Meet the Harris Family
To learn about the Harris Family, watch this video:
Abigail & Colby Harris: Lightning Strikes Twice
What Is Open Your Heart?
Imagine a world without heart disease or stroke. Many say this is unattainable, considering heart disease kills more Americans than the next four leading causes of death combined. But this vision — for a world free of heart disease and stroke — drives the lifesaving mission of the American Heart Association. Open Your Heart gives donors the opportunity to make a direct impact on the AHA’s mission by making a personal gift.
Open Your Heart unrestricted funds are the very foundation of our ability to simultaneously continue our work at the forefront of scientific discovery and benefit community health.
This year we are focused on four key areas of work:
Quality of Life: We are ensuring that all Americans have an equal chance of living a healthier, longer life –no matter their ethnicity, income, education level or neighborhood.
A Healthier Longer Life Begins at Birth: We are giving more kids with congenital heart defects the chance to grow up and lead long, healthy lives by supporting research, outreach and advocacy.
Science Advancement: We are committed to funding cutting edge heart and stroke research to ensure our programs are on the forefront of changes occurring across the globe. The new knowledge and advances that result benefit millions of lives.
Everyone Can Be A Lifesaver: We are the nation’s leader in resuscitation science, education, and training. We are preventing strokes and enhancing stroke care through simulations, advocacy and outreach to the public, patients and healthcare providers.
Please consider making a gift to Open Your Heart.
Together, we can change lives and saves lives!
Click HERE to Donate Now.
The Harris Family's Story
Lightning struck twice. Born three years apart, Abigail and Colby Harris were each diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defects—matching heart valve tears. Two newborns, two heart-wrenching diagnoses, two surgeries.
Thanks to medical advances made through American Heart Association-funded research, both Abigail (age 5) and Colby (age 2) are enjoying active, happy childhoods free of heart disease. Two matching scars, two bright futures.
People like you changed the Harris family’s story before it ever happened. This very community of philanthropists decided stories like theirs would not be tragic, but triumphant.
A Letter from Lori Irvin: The Story of Rosemary, our 2017 Face of Heart
I was 24 weeks pregnant when I learned that my daughter, Rosemary, had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that requires a series of three open-heart surgeries to repair and restore heart function.
Rosemary had difficulty post-operatively, so I was relieved to get to the third stage, which would bridge her into adulthood when she would need a heart transplant. However, Rosemary's body rejected the third stage surgery. After six months of living at the hospital, with no medical hope remaining--her heart, lungs, and multiple organs failing--I made the heart-wrenching decision to bring my daughter home on hospice care. I felt like I was giving my daughter a death sentence. I prayed for another chance to continue being her Mom, and that's exactly what I got.
I have always said miracles and medicine walk hand in hand. Dr. Jonas at Children's National Medical Center had one last idea: a fourth surgery to reverse the third stage, taking Rosemary effectively back to stage two. I seized this opportunity to give my daughter one last fighting chance, and Rosemary had an amazing turnaround. She was discharged two weeks later (her shortest hospital stay since birth).
Rosemary is alive today because of congenital heart defect research and education funded by the American Heart Association. She's learning to play the violin, taking ballet classes, and living her life to the fullest. When Rosemary needs a heart transplant, I'm comforted knowing that the innovative research and technological advancements developed by the AHA will not only give my daughter, but thousands of children with CHDs, the best chance to live a long, healthy, happy life.
Please support the AHA by giving generously to the Open Your Heart Campaign. The next great achievement in heart health awaits your investment.
Click HERE to Donate Now.