Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are the most common birth defect and kill more children each year than all of pediatric cancer COMBINED. Although this remains true, funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD. Each year over 1,000,000 babies are born worldwide with a congenital heart defect. 100,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more will die before they reach adulthood. CHD’s are lifelong and have no cure.
Although research has made great gains over the last decade CHD remains grossly under-funded relative to the prevalence of the disease. Of every dollar the government spends on medical funding only a fraction of a penny is directed toward congenital heart defect research. The National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) has stated that Congenital Heart Defects are a serious and underappreciated global health problem.
Currently in the US alone there are more than 2 million CHD survivors and for the first time more than half are adults. Adult CHD patients require specialized treatment by trained adult congenital heart defect cardiologists. Unfortunately these specialists are few and because of this many adult CHD patients are lost to care for years until their health declines and situations force them emergently into care. There needs to be more opportunity for cardiologists to be trained in the treatment of the adult CHD patient thereby making care more accessible for this growing population of people. Ensuring a smooth transition from pediatric cardiology to adult care and providing a comprehensive approach to congenital cardiac care in adulthood is paramount.
Clearly RESEARCH FUNDING is key and in order to acquire research funding we must focus on AWARENESS. Through the Red Balloon Campaign we will strive to EDUCATE the general public about Congenital Heart Defects. We will CONNECT, EMPOWER and ADVOCATE for the CHD Community. We WILL accomplish this through the Red Balloon Campaign.