Nearly four years ago, we already had a healthy 2-year-old toddler boy when we found out we were going to be blessed with twins! Excited for the initial anatomy scan, we were left in shock and in tears to learn that our future twin daughters BOTH had Congenital Heart Disease/Defects (CHD) and BOTH would need Open Heart Surgeries soon after birth. Up to that point, we had absolutely no idea what “CHD” meant.
1 in 100 children is born with CHD and it is the most common birth defect. Unfortunately, many children do not survive CHD. Individuals with CHD often endure a lifetime of monitoring and treatment, and possibly undergo multiple invasive procedures. Families affected with CHD often experience extraordinary difficulties and challenges.
CHD can often be associated with other abnormalities or syndromes such as DiGeorge or Down. The first hospital mentioned abortion as twins with CHD is extremely rare. We couldn’t imagine the difficulties the girls might encounter. We were also concerned that our son would have to face adversity during his youth, and then eventually may be left to take care of his two sisters with extreme needs. Terrified and feeling helpless throughout, we braced ourselves for the unknown.
Jasmine had her first open heart surgery at 15-days-old; Selena had hers at 3-months-old. Jasmine had her second open heart surgery at 15-months-old. They will both likely need yet another surgery in the future, and we pray with advances in technology and research, these procedures will be less invasive. Thanks to the amazing support from doctors, nurses, hospital staff at New York Presbyterian (Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center), NYU Langone, our family, friends, early intervention therapists, heart communities, and social media, Selena and Jasmine (and their big brother) are thriving today! Our story is full of positive contributions from so many individuals and institutions that have helped our family to this point. We hope to contribute, just as so many have done for us, and so many continue to do so for the many families affected by CHD.
Research for CHD is grossly underfunded despite its prevalence. Hoops4Hearts is an endeavor to help in raising awareness and funding for the research and treatment of CHD. Our love for basketball can still bring passion, competition, and exposure for our programs and players. Now, we will also join together in this important cause as we play to honor “Heart Angels” and to benefit “Heart Heroes“.
Thank you for being part of Hoops4Hearts!
– The Tsai Family