Since then, Hannah’s Hearts has assisted many other children and families struggling with CHD’s and other life-threatening illnesses.
On May 15 of last year, the Linskys welcomed their fifth daughter, Madilynn. She joined Emily, 15; Abbey, 13; Hannah, 5; and Lucy, 3, in the family.
“We were surprised to learn that, along with discovering Maddie had Down Syndrome, she also had a congenital heart defect,” noted Deonna. The baby had open heart surgery to rebuild the valves in her heart last August.
“Maddie has recovered great and is such a wonderful addition to the family,” Deonna says. “The blessing of another ‘heart baby’ has just solidified our calling to help these precious children and their families.”
The primary goal of Hannah’s Hearts is to serve children and families and bring awareness to people regarding congenital heart defects and Down Syndrome.
According to statistics, one out of a hundred babies are born each year with CHDs; and there are a million or more Americans alive today who were born with congenital heart defects.
CHDs are the leading cause of death from birth defects during the first year of life. They cause one or more portions of the heart to develop abnormally. Absent, narrow or leaky heart valves and blood vessels; holes in the walls between chambers: transposed arteries; and the underdevelopment or total absence of one or more components—all of these conditions are possible.
“So many children don’t get the chance to live the life they were created for, even though 95 percent of CHD repairs are successful and the children go on to live normal lives,” Deonna pointed out.
In the 1960s and ’70s, as many as 30 percent of babies died after congenital heart surgery; today, nearly 95 percent of babies survive these surgeries.
Families of children with congenital heart defects often lead exhausting lives filled with “unknowns,” and they are all too familiar with long hours spent in hospitals and living with the minute-to-minute survival of their children.
Serving familiesSince 2009, Hannah’s Hearts has delivered more than 300 Hannah’s Care Bags to the neonatal ICU at OU Medical Center. These bags are filled with much-needed items like notebooks, pens, gum, snacks, water, toiletries, restaurant gift cards, travel games for siblings, bows and/or hats, change for vending machines, and handmade baby blankets.
The organization stocks the waiting room with bottles of water and energizing snacks, and members have also served lunch twice monthly at the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside the OU Children’s Hospital.
Consignment BazaarIn 2010, Hannah’s Hearts introduced a Heart-to-Heart Consignment Bazaar, a seasonal sales event/fundraiser held each spring and fall that offers consignors a chance to make a 70-percent profit on gently-used children’s items, while Hannah’s Hearts retains 30 percent of the sale price.
The seventh such sale is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, April 3-5, at the Stephens County fairgrounds. People can register now to become consignors. They need to price and tag all of their own items, then drop them off to be sold at the bazaar.
The bazaar will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday (half-price day).
Hannah’s Hearts also accepts donated items, with 100 percent of the sale price of these articles going to the organization. Vendor spots are available, as well.
“Last year, we had thousands of items brought to the sale; and every year, it has gotten bigger,” said Deonna. “It is a great opportunity for families to sell their gently-used children’s clothing, furniture, equipment, and toys, and for the rest of the community to come and shop for high-quality merchandise at affordable prices.”
To register or obtain more information, please visit www.hannahshearts.org or contact Deonna at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (580) 467-8118.