Monday, November 29, 2010

A Heartfelt Goodbye

The Congenital Heart Defect community suffered a major loss today. Many of us are still wiping away the tears, or trying to convince ourselves that it was all just a bad dream. I think it's safe to say that everyone is sad, many are angry, and most are shocked.

Steve Catoe, also known in the CHD community as "The Funky Heart", passed away sometime late last night/early this morning. His death came as a complete shock and word spread quickly throughout various social media outlets. "But, he just blogged a post yesterday!", many of us said in disbelief. Steve was a 44 year old living with Tricuspid Atresia. He wrote the blog "Adventures of a Funky Heart" and was fearless when it came to advocating for CHD awareness, research, and fundraising. It seemed he was constantly researching and constantly encouraging downtrodden heart parents, myself included.

I was fortunate enough to meet Steve last summer. He came to Duke to speak during a CHD Symposium and I had just began reading his blog a few days prior. When the host of the symposium announced he would be coming up to the podium, I inhaled deeply ... OK, so I gasped; I was star-struck! During the lunch break, I nervously approached Steve, introduced myself, and explained my silly teenage girl behavior. Just as humble as he could be he said, "I wondered who would be that excited to hear me speak!"

What he didn't know, and what I never told him, is that I've hung onto his every word since then. Whether in person, or through blog posts, I always learned something from him. I looked forward to his posts, and I appreciated his kind words during some of our scary moments with Ethan.

Steve will be greatly missed. Although now perfect, it is my hope that the message of Steve's once funky heart will continue to spread. He has paved the way for us, let's continue down it.


Jen Foster said...

Heartfelt, indeed - in every sense of the word. I will be forever grateful for Steve's mission to *educate* people about CHD. He went so much further than raising awareness, and was a true center of our web community. He will be missed.

Hope's Blog said...

I was waiting for his post this morning and finally signed onto Facebook. So very sad and so many tears have been shed. Rest in Peace will be missed more than words can say!

Karen Thurston Chavez said...

A beautiful tribute, Joye. I was pretty star-struck, too, picking him up from our airport, when he arrived last February to speak at our Regional Forum. After watching the video of his presentation at the Duke symposium, I knew our families would love him. His reply to you about hearing him speak ... so, so Steve.

He had a gift for bringing people together ... and even now, he still is.


Stefenie said...

Missing Steve too!

The Smith's said...

Thanks so much for your congrats on our news! I am leaning heavily on the verse at the top of your blog as we pray for this baby's heart health! Have a great weekend!

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