If you have not already signed up, and you want to, please do so today. If you have already joined our team, I would encourage you to go ahead and begin your fundraising efforts. It just takes asking 10 people to give $10, and you can raise $100 in no-time!
All of you are aware of the obvious reason I'll be walking on September 26. This little guy's broken heart has absolutely changed mine.
When Jeramie and I first found out I was pregnant, I knew I would experience a love like I've never known; every mom will tell you that, and it's true. But, finding out about Ethan's heart, handing him over to a heart surgeon at 3 days old, sitting by his bed for 2 and 1/2 months, and watching a team of people bring him back from the brink of death has created a love and a passion that only a few of us blessed moms get to experience.
Did she really just say blessed? Has Joye officially lost her mind?!
This is a life that no mother would wish for their child. You don't sit around while you're pregnant, praying that you'll have a sick baby so that you can be strengthened or filled with this unknown passion.
But, when this life is yours, fighting and loving more than you thought you were physically capable of is all you know how to do.
I often times have people say to me,
"Joye, you are so strong. I don't know how you do it."When, the reality is, I don't know how I do it either. I do know that I have a God who is absolutely bigger than any of this mess and is the reason Ethan is alive and well today; but, the day-to-day appointments, feeding schedules, and medicines? I don't have an option to not do it.
I do it because Ethan needs me to. I do it because I am his mother and it's my job. Does it make me tired, frustrated, worried, or upset? Of course! Do I wish it were different? For him, yes. Do I wish that his pain not be the thing that makes me a better person? Definitely. But this is our life, our reality, and I know that the past 16 months have made me a person I didn't even know I could become; for that I am so very blessed.
Now, for the maybe not-so-obvious reason as to why I am walking in this year's Heart Walk. My daddy was diagnosed with congestive heart failure about 10-ish years ago. The initial prognosis wasn't great, and the doctors weren't sure how long his heart could keep going. Being a daddy's girl, I was devastated and couldn't (still can't) stand the thought of losing him to heart disease. But, thanks to medicine, diet, and exercise, Daddy is still going strong! He has been able to see me graduate from college, walk me down the aisle, dance with me at our wedding, and experience being a Grandpa for the first time.
I am so thankful for cardiologists, like my daddy's and Ethan's, who are using up-to-date research to treat such a wide variety of heart conditions. I am thankful that money is coming from somewhere to drive that research and to allow people with sick hearts to live longer, happier lives.
Currently, research has been done that has allowed one company to create a MRI friendly pacemaker. Do you know how many nights I've wondered what we would do if Ethan were to ever sustain a head injury and need an MRI, but can't have one? Or how many days I've driven to his orthopedist's office and parked on the opposite side of the parking lot so he won't be anywhere near the field of the MRI trailers?
One day, research will make it possible for Ethan to not need another open heart surgery. Research is what's allowing scientists to figure out how to engineer blood vessels from human cells to use during heart bypass surgery, and to successfully implant a laboratory-grown organ into a human. Imagine a heart transplant with no fear of rejection!
If we want the best for our loved ones who are suffering from some form of heart disease, whether it be congenital or acquired, we need to take action! I would be absolutely elated if "Team Ethan" is able to meet our goal of $2,000. It sounds steep, but I think we can do it!
Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons who are in the midst of treating these patients need us to do it.
Older men, like my daddy, who rely on medicines to keep their heart functioning need us to do it.
Kids like Ethan, who require so many surgical interventions and devices, absolutely need us to just do it.
I know we can do it ... who's with me??