PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Valentine hearts take on a whole new meaning for children who’ve received life-saving congenital heart surgery over the past year. That’s why they’re getting together this Sunday to bond with other families, share experiences and give thanks to the Children’s Heart Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford -- annually ranked as one of the nation’s top 10.
It’s the hospital’s 13th Annual Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Day Party, an event with great meaning for everyone, especially since February 7-14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. This special week highlights a global awareness effort to help educate the public about congenital heart defects, a leading cause of birth defect-related deaths worldwide.
About 500 children receive surgery to correct congenital cardiac defects at Packard Children’s each year. This party is not just a reunion for families with a common, heartfelt bond. It’s also a time to celebrate the innovative treatment and care that allowed these kids to live.
“These families can often feel like they’re all alone,” said Deb Hanisch, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Heart Center and main organizer of the event. “It’s beneficial for them to be able to meet each other and share their experiences.”
Dozens of families and kids of all ages will gather at Palo Alto’s Lucie Stern Community Center from 1 to 3:30 p.m. to enjoy the mysterious fun of Mr. Horsefeathers -- a local magician and children’s entertainer -- as well as food, games, crafts, and the sharing of stories. Representatives of the Silicon Valley chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a support program for parents of children with heart defects and heart disease, will also be in attendance. Through it all, there will be many emotional reunions with the Packard Children’s caregivers who provided support during these toughest of times.
Join us for a few pre-Valentine’s Day treats and to meet those for whom every day is a heart day.
1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Lucie Stern Community Center
1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA (map)