Kathy Betts is the mother of a son with a critical congenital heart defect. During a routine ultrasound in her 24th week of pregnancy, her baby was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia. Kathy then saw her obstetrician who led her to believe her baby would have a terrible life, would have to be kept alive on machines and that the best thing for her to do was to abort the baby. She was given three late term abortion clinics. Kathy had never heard of heart defects but because of her faith, and believing all things happen for a reason, she refused to have an abortion. This made for a frightening pregnancy, plenty of heartbreaking moments and fears about being a heart mom. Josh was born via C-section. He was in the hospital for five weeks and had two open-heart surgeries. Josh is now an active 18-year-old young man. He works at Wal-mart in the tire and lube department. He is also a volunteer firefighter. Reaping so many blessings has made all the struggles worth it.
Amy Gerrish Bennett is a loving wife and a mom to 4 (almost 5!) -year old Bodie and heart-healthy 7-year old Sierra, Amy holds both her JD and CPA. Prior to Bodie’s birth, Amy was the Chief Financial Officer of a multi-million dollar educational access 501(c)(3) organization. She continues her work now by doing part-time accounting consulting work for nonprofit organizations. Additionally, she cofounded Sisters by Heart, a national nonprofit organization that provides support to newly diagnosed HLHS families. Bodie’s heart defect, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, was diagnosed when Amy was 17 weeks pregnant, and she and her husband were repeatedly counseled to terminate the pregnancy. That prenatal experience was part of what drove her to cofound Sisters by Heart; a desire for other parents in her position to be given HOPE and information about how well children born with HLHS can and do fare.
Roxanne Montalvo-Tsai is the mother of Selena and Jasmine Tsai who were born on May 1st 2014 with Tetralogy of Fallot. Selena was the Pink Tet baby and was in the neonatal intensive care unit (or NICU) for 9 days. She was sent home with a pulse-oximeter machine to check oxygen levels. Jasmine was the Blue Tet baby with Pulmonary Atresia. She had her full repair open-heart surgery at 15 days of life and developed arrhythmia after recovery. She needed 3 cardio-versions but was sent home with medications after 35 days in the NICU. Selena had her full repair open-heart surgery when she was 1 day shy of 3 months of life. She recovered quickly and came home in 7 days. The twin girls are 9 months old now and are thriving with help from Early Intervention Services. Jasmine needs another surgery in a couple of years and both will need yet another procedure before they become adults.