Nina Wills and her heart warrior Peyton have been busy painting the town red in an effort to spread awareness about congenital heart defects.
“The painting came from curechd.org, they are all about the research of how we can figure out how to keep these kids alive longer and longer,” said Nina Wills.
According to the children’s heart foundation, forty thousand babies are born with some type of heart defect in the U.S.
Wills said her experience with her son has been tough with many hospital stays and surgeries.
“He’s also had the bi-directional glen, we had a really rough time with that, he ended up on life support for seven days,” said Wills.
Local doctors say while many families worry about genetics, sometimes heart conditions just happen.
“It is a combination of the inheritance of the genes from the mom and the father and the influence from the environment, and medications we take and all that,” said pediatric cardiologist Dr. Durga Naidu. “But considering all this, its only a small proportion so majority of the time it’s nothing wrong, a perfect pregnancy, perfectly done everything otherwise, but still has a child with a heart defect.”
Wills said part of that awareness is making sure you ask the right questions during ultrasounds when expecting.
“Please ask the big questions, ask if all 4 chambers are there, is blood pumping forward, is it all moving in the right direction, can you see everything all the veins, it’s not just about a boy or a girl,” said Wills.
Dr. Naidu said that spreading awareness about CHD will help keep everyone informed.
“This awareness is not only for those who don’t know, in fact it as also very helpful to those people who know but what else they should be thinking and what else they should be bringing up to their primary provider,” said Naidu.
To learn more about congenital heart defects you can visit curechd.org or visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org/en/affiliates/louisiana/lafayette.