Daniel was born with critical aortic stenosis and atrial septal defect (ASD) and was only 36 hours old when he went into congestive heart failure and was life-flighted to Tulane University Children’s Hospital in New Orleans for open heart surgery. Noah was also born with ASD, ventricular septal defect (VSD), and a bicuspid aortic valve. However, thanks to the advances in the diagnosis and treatment of their conditions, they are both healthy, young boys today.
Now, the family of advocates shares their story to help advance research. “Without a doubt I've enjoyed the speaking events the most,” says Tina. “I can't tell you how many people have come up to me afterwards and said how moved they were by our story. This is where the difference is made. When people can see firsthand what research has done, they are more willing to help, and the more they help, the more research can be done.”
In March 2010, the Haskews flew to Washington, DC to share their story with their Alabama legislators to advocate for increased funding for research through the National Institutes of Health. Eric and Tina have also been very active with their community Heart Walk, raising thousands of dollars to support research and AHA programs, as well as participating in Go Red for Women luncheons and speaking on behalf of the Association at their local hospitals.
The family says they will continue to do what they can to advance research. In November, Daniel had his aortic valve replaced at the University of Alabama Hospital. His surgery was a success and the new valve will most likely carry him into adulthood without another procedure.
Thinking about getting more involved with AHA’s advocacy efforts? Tina and her family encourage you to go ahead and do it! “You won’t regret it,” says Tina. “It’s more rewarding than you could ever imagine. You never know when you might be able to make a positive change in someone else’s life.”