Although Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) impact millions of people, they seem to be a hidden epidemic. If you have an opportunity to talk with people about CHD, you will find that many people know someone who was born with a heart defect. But, until now, our community did not have a symbol to indicate that CHD is important to us. Women’s heart disease has the Red Dress. Autism has the Puzzle Piece. Now CHD has the Red Balloon!

The mission of the Red Balloon 4 Heart Defects Campaign is to brand all of the Congenital Heart Defect community and resources under one united symbol ~ The Red Balloon. The CHD community is a strong and passionate one. Through the symbol of the Red Balloon we can find unity and develop a more powerful vehicle to increase awareness, connect, collaborate, educate and advocate.

The Red Balloon will soon be an instant symbol to all when they see it to pay attention because they are encountering something connected to Congenital Heart Defects. Whether it is a person wearing a Red Balloon item to show their support for CHD or a document that bears a Red Balloon signifying that it has information about Congenital Heart Defects, anyone impacted by CHD’s will immediately take notice.

The Red Balloon is an opportunity to educate the general public about CHD’s and a chance to connect those affected by Congenital Heart Defects to resources that are important to them.

The Red Balloon inspires one to think of possibilities. It is not gender specific, it has the whimsy of childhood but is not childish. It is a symbol that can be embraced by young and old, male and female. It inspires us to connect, collaborate, educate and advocate for those affected by heart defects, because EVERY heart deserves a lifetime.

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are the most common birth defect and kill more children each year than all of pediatric cancer COMBINED. Although this remains true, funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD. Each year over 1,000,000 babies are born worldwide with a congenital heart defect. 100,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more will die before they reach adulthood. CHD’s are lifelong and have no cure.

Although research has made great gains over the last decade CHD remains grossly under-funded relative to the prevalence of the disease. Of every dollar the government spends on medical funding only a fraction of a penny is directed toward congenital heart defect research. The National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) has stated that Congenital Heart Defects are a serious and underappreciated global health problem.

Currently in the US alone there are more than 2 million CHD survivors and for the first time more than half are adults. Adult CHD patients require specialized treatment by trained adult congenital heart defect cardiologists. Unfortunately these specialists are few and because of this many adult CHD patients are lost to care for years until their health declines and situations force them emergently into care. There needs to be more opportunity for cardiologists to be trained in the treatment of the adult CHD patient thereby making care more accessible for this growing population of people. Ensuring a smooth transition from pediatric cardiology to adult care and providing a comprehensive approach to congenital cardiac care in adulthood is paramount.

Clearly RESEARCH FUNDING is key and in order to acquire research funding we must focus on AWARENESS. Through the Red Balloon Campaign we will strive to EDUCATE the general public about Congenital Heart Defects. We will CONNECT, EMPOWER and ADVOCATE for the CHD Community. We WILL accomplish this through the Red Balloon Campaign.

To support Red Balloon 4 Heart Defects by making a one-time or reoccurring donation, click here!

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