When I see red, I think of hearts - and not just cutesy cut-out ones. I'm talking beautifully broken, carefully mended, life-giving kind of hearts.
Friday, February 1st (this Friday!) is Wear Red Day across the United States and many people will be "going red" to support women who are fighting against heart disease. I think heart disease in adults is a well-known topic and, as adults, we're encouraged to take care of ourselves and make "heart healthy" choices.
Maybe you even think of hearts and heart disease when you see red.
But what about heart defects?
It has always slightly bothered me that Congenital Heart Defects and Congenital Heart Disease are used interchangeably. Each term seems to be equally accepted among the medical community and, by definition, Ethan's heart is both diseased and defective. However, I believe the majority of our country hears "heart disease" and worries about all those fatty foods we've put into our bodies, or thinks about an elderly person in a hospital room.
Of course, those of you reading here know that simply isn't the case for our broken-hearted babies - they did nothing to bring on their lifetime of surgeries, medications, and check-ups.
So, today, I encourage you. On Friday, in addition to wearing red for your dad, your grandma, your mom, or your uncle, wear red for the 1.8 million people who are living with a Congenital Heart Defect in the United States.
When you see red on Friday, think about kids (babies, even) like Ethan who have spent days upon days in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery. Think about those families who no longer have their children here with them because of heart defects, and wear red if for no other reason than out of love and support for them.
And, if you want to take it a step further - don't just wear red. Tell somebody why you chose that particular shirt, or pair of shoes, or earrings. You can share Ethan's story, if you want, or just some general facts about CHDs.
This is a great kick-off to CHD Awareness Week, which runs from February 7th-14th, and I'll be using that week to share specific ways we can not just talk about CHDs, but take action as well. I hope you'll join me!
But, until then, tell me. Who will you be wearing red for on Friday?