Media Release: Support group to form for children with congenital heart defects

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Dayton Children's partners with Mended Hearts and the American Heart Association

01-30-2009 (Dayton, OH) - For many parents, hearing the heartbeat of their unborn child becomes their first, loving bond to that child. It's no wonder, then, that discovering that their child has a heart defect, whether diagnosed in the womb, shortly after birth or during childhood, can be devastating.

Mended Little Hearts, a new support program for parents of children with heart defects and heart disease, is dedicated to inspiring hope in those who care for the littlest heart patients of all. Mended Little Hearts offers resources and a caring support network as families find answers and move forward to find healing and hope.

The local chapter of Mended Little Hearts will host its first support meeting and "rollout" on Thursday, February 19, at 7:00 pm at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, located off of Valley Street in Old North Dayton. The meeting will be held in the outpatient care center conference rooms A-C (lower level).

Partnering with hospitals to provide programs, Mended Little Hearts connects families in crisis with other parents who have survived the shock of learning a child has a heart problem, navigated the maze of medical decisions and procedures, and mapped out a plan for the future:

  • Hospital Visiting: Accredited volunteers will make on-site visits to parents whose children have been diagnosed with heart defects or are undergoing treatment. Outreach packets contain health information and brochures as well as entertaining items for the child.
  • Internet and Telephone Visiting: Parents receive support by communicating with trained volunteers over the Internet or telephone.
  • Group Meetings: Support groups help parents understand that they are not alone and that there is hope. Members listen, share their experiences, and discuss issues that impact the family.
  • Social Events: Mended Little Hearts programs are encouraged to conduct social events to bring members together to celebrate a theme and offer camaraderie among members and supporters.

One Mended Little Hearts (MLH) family member commented recently, 'MLH has become part of my extended family. We offer support in ways others can't. I feel privileged to be a part of this.'

The Mended Little Hearts group is supported by the local Wright Hearts Chapter of the Mended Hearts, Inc., The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, The Huesman Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association.

For more information about the rollout event, call 937-853-3105.

About Mended Hearts, Inc.
For more than 50 years, Mended Hearts has been a patient-support organization offering compassion, hope and encouragement to heart patients, their families and caregivers. The core of the organization's services is its patient-to-patient visitor program. Heart patient volunteers, specifically trained and accredited by Mended Hearts, visit other patients - - either before or after surgery - - during hospital stays. Visits may also be made to non-surgical patients such as those diagnosed with angina, hypertension or heart attack. All patient visits are made with hospital and/or physician approval or referral.

About the American Heart Association
Since 1924, the American Heart Association has helped protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, claim more than 870,000 American lives a year. Through events and programs, the association raises money to fund research, professional and public education, and advocacy so people across America can live stronger, longer lives. The American Heart Association currently has four initiatives designed to help specific groups of Americans. Go Red For Women focuses on cardiovascular disease in women. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation combats childhood obesity. Power To End Stroke speaks to the African American community about its disproportionately high risk. And Start! works to help adults get more physical activity into their daily lives. For more information log on to

About The Children's Medical Center of Dayton
Dayton Children's is the region's only medical facility dedicated to caring for infants, children and teens. Consistently recognized as one of the country's top pediatric hospitals, Dayton Children's provides medical treatment, advice and information for children and families from 20 Ohio counties and eastern Indiana. By demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission's national quality standards, Dayton Children's has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval. For more children's health and safety information, visit our website at

For more information, contact:
Marketing Communications Department
Phone: 937-641-3666


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