Being a Blessing by Trent Hamilton

As we speed into the holiday season, many of us take a few moments to think about those who are less fortunate or are in need.  During this time, some people volunteer their time at a shelter or soup kitchen, some people adopt an “angel” off of a tree, and others donate clothing to the Salvation Army. Whether your contributions are out of genuine caring or an effort to get one last deduction for your yearly taxes, any help that you provide to others will be appreciated.

In this special time of giving, there are many different groups that are worthy of your charity. If your family or friends have been touched by congenital heart disease (CHD), I would encourage you to consider doing a little something to make life better or easier for these special families.

There are many things that can be done to help and/or support families who are battling CHD, below I would like to offer a few suggestions.

  1. One of the easiest (and most cost effective) ways to help is to be a donor. You can sign up to be an organ donor online by clicking here. You can also donate blood. Almost all CHD patients will need blood products at some point during their treatment; some will need it multiple times. While it is not easy to donate directly to a patient, many blood centers have a credit program that would allow you to give blood and the patient would get a credit for the blood instead of being charged for it. Even if your local blood center doesn’t have a blood credit program, the gift of blood is very useful. One pint of donated blood can save up to 3 lives! The best thing about these options is that they are completely free!

  1. Another simple, and relatively cheap, option is to donate new stuffed animals or books to your local children’s hospital. Whether they go to the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) or to another part of the hospital, these items will be cherished by a child in the hospital. It is important to make sure that the items are new, as not to spread germs, but you really can’t go wrong with this one. Anything that might make a child feel a little more comfortable or secure will go a long way toward their recovery.

  1. Take a meal or some food gift cards to a family in the CICU. If you have spent any amount of time in the hospital, you know that cafeteria food gets old very quickly. A homemade meal or even fast food can go a long way to restoring the soul of a family experiencing a tough time.

  1. Finally, if you have the financial means, I would encourage you to consider making a monetary contribution to an organization that assists CHD families or supports research for CHDs. I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to consider supporting Whole Hearts Foundation. In case you don’t know, Whole Hearts provides financial assistance to families who are battling against CHD. Every dollar that you donate will meet a need of a CHD family in your local community. Whether the need is money for food, assistance in paying a bill, or having a place to rest while their child is in the hospital, Whole Hearts aspires to ease the burdens of these families so that they can focus on the health and well-being of their child. You can support Whole Hearts by clicking here.

The hope of a new year is just around the corner and, as we reflect on 2012, many of us think about all of the ways that God has blessed us this past year. There are many ways that you can be a blessing to others as the year comes to an end. I hope that you will consider making a difference during this holiday season.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Trent Hamilton
Director of Local Support
Whole Hearts Foundation

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