February is ‘Heart Month’ and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Heart & Stroke foundation and all those who have donated toward the research that may have given me one more day, one more milestone to celebrate with my niece, Rachel.
My 5 year old niece Rachel has Tricuspid Atresia which basically means she is missing the Tricuspid Valve in her heart that helps blood from the heart get to the lungs. Her condition is very severe, and causes her to turn blue, lose her breath, and get very tired with the smallest amount of exertion. Watch Rachel in action and see for yourself how she pushes through her obstacles and gives new meaning to “let it go”…
I have decided to reach out to as many people in my network to raise money for more developments in research that might continue to help prolong Rachel’s life. I am hoping you will do the same by sharing this within your network in an effort to buy one more day with Rachel.
In addition to donating a portion of all Massage Therapy treatments paid for in the month of February to the Heart & Stroke Foundation for Rachel’s Heartstrings, if YOU donate $35.00 or more to the foundation, you will be entered into a draw to win a 30, 60, or 90 minute massage by a Registered Massage Therapist at Jennifer Bloch RMT, & Associates (JBRMT). There are many treatments to be won in Rachel’s honour so donate now, your chances of winning are HIGH! (Obviously anonymous donations don’t get entered).
Donate now to enter to win:
Rachel is a fighter like no other I have ever met. The physicians could not even believe that she survived the altitude on her trip home from China. Her family, pediatrician, cardiologist, surgeons, and nurses were repeatedly baffled after she beat the odds through two high risk open-heart surgeries before the age of 4. Now 5, Rachel is a gift to our family and an inspiration to everyone who knows her.
Rachel is facing another high risk surgery in the near future and we are hoping every day that she pulls through as strongly as she did before. Her strength and perseverance is inspiring in the face of terrifying challenges most people will never face in a lifetime. Her most recent surgery, in 2014, called the “Glenn Procedure” involved the removal of the major vein from her heart that returns blood to the heart from the head, neck and arms and attaching that vein to the main artery that supplies the lungs so the blood can be properly redistributed. Rachel’s next surgery will take place in the near future (once she is strong enough). It will involve a similar procedure called the “Fontan procedure” where they will remove the major vein that drains the organs in the abdomen and the lower limbs from the heart and place it on that same major artery that goes right to the lungs.
Rachel’s heart condition may slow her down, but this kid will not let it beat her… she will sing…she will dance… she will play. She is a natural born rock-star!
Last year, Rachel’s 9 year old sister Alyssa (my other beautiful niece) helped to raise over $11,000 for the Montreal Children’s Hospital because she wanted so badly to save her sister’s life. Alyssa’s world changed when Rachel came in to her life. Not only did she have to learn how to adapt to having a new sister, she had to adapt quickly to having a sister who needed a lot of attention. By embracing Rachel and her illness, she has become Rachel’s hero (as Elsa is to Anna in Frozen). Alyssa’s drive to help her sister is infectious which is why I was inspired to do something too.
This year, Alyssa inspired me to run a fundraising campaign, Rachel’s Heartstrings, to raise awareness about childhood heart conditions for Heart Month in February. I am hoping to raise a minimum of $1500 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation (ok, it’s not $11,000.00, but I am not nearly as adorable as Alyssa).
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Linked-in and see the progress toward our goal, get updates about the contest, and follow my beautiful and stronger-than-strong nieces.
Jennifer Bloch, RMT