Families Supporting Families

April 27, 2017: It's My Heart New England is very excited to wish Will a very Happy 11th Birthday and to also take this day to announce an exciting new program for in-patient families facing open-heart surgery that was inspired by Will and his journey...

Will was born in April 2006. As a small child he suffered multiple illnesses and was in and out of hospitals and back and forth to specialists to keep him healthy and try to figure out what might be wrong. It was not until the age of 9, however, that he was diagnosed with a rare Congenital Heart Defect known as Scimitar Syndrome. Basically, Will’s pulmonary vein bypassed his left lung and went directly into his Vena Cava, the large vein coming off the top of his heart. Without surgery to repair this, Will would have faced a lifetime of illness and life-threatening complications. Needless to say, receiving this diagnosis at age 9, and completely out of the blue, was shocking and terrifying to him and his family. They found themselves thrown into a world they never imagined; a world they certainly didn't know how to navigate.

Will underwent a successful open-heart surgery in early June 2016 and has been doing very well since. He is now a happy and healthy 11 year old who loves watching the Red Sox, playing his trumpet, hanging with his friends, cousins and two siblings. He is known by all for his sense of humor and his endless capacity for love!

It is this compassion and love that inspired It's My Heart New England to create the Families Supporting Families Program. From the moment of Will's diagnosis, his family was surrounded by love and support from their family, friends and their community. People stepped in to help with their pets and with Will's brother and sister, as well as brought meals and made donations to help lesson the financial burden and allow Will's family to focus on taking care of Will and themselves. Will's mom told us: "This support really carried us through a very difficult time and from day one Will was insistent that one day he would give back the same way to someone who needed it."

It's My Heart New England's Families Supporting Families Program is our way of allowing Will to do just that. The program will allow us to sponsor nominated in-patient families facing open-heart surgery for one week during their hospital stay. This means help with meals, parking, personal care, and more. With Will, it is our hope that this program will lesson the financial burden of other families facing open-heart surgery and will help these families feel cared for and supported throughout a very stressful time and to know that they are not alone on their journey.

If you would like to be a charter supporter of this new program, would like to make a gift card or other personal care donation, or have a family you would like to nominate, please visit our website at www.itsmyheartnewengland.org and search for the program under the programs tab or e-mail Krisanne at NEPrograms@itsmyheart.org