So sorry for the delay in this blog post! My summer was crazy busy with my internship, riding my horse, and chauffeuring my siblings around! This one will be a little shorter than usual since September has been insane with moving into my apartment and going back to school. Since the last one was very emotional and sad, I decided to write something a little more cheerful for this month!
There is no denying that there are a lot of downsides to having a congenital heart defect. The numerous doctors appointments. The constant medical tests to make sure everything is working properly (my personal least favorites are the yearly MRI and the exercise stress test). The list goes on forever. However, there are a surprising number of positives.
One of the greatest parts is the fact that you’re not supposed to shovel snow! Exertion in the cold air makes those of us with heart conditions more susceptible to heart attacks and such which sucks but that means no shovelling so I’m fine with it! Living outside of Philadelphia, this was literally incredible. I helped my mom shovel a lot when I was kid but when I got older and we learned more the predisposition to heart attacks I got to skip it! After then, every time it snowed I got to experience the immeasurable joy of sitting inside, sipping hot chocolate, and watching my siblings shovel snow and slip on the ice down the driveway. Of course I went and played in the snow with everyone once they were done but I didn’t have to do any of the manual labor! That was always one of my favorite parts of the winter!
Another thing, which I unfortunately never got to do, was getting a medical excuse form to get out of running the mile in gym class every year (a.k.a. my least favorite day of gym). While I’m grateful I had the opportunity to push myself physically, I would have loved to never run the mile.
In addition, having a congenital heart defect provides great essay material! This is so useful when applying to colleges because it is something that makes you stand out and you can write a super emotional essay and try to tug on the heartstrings of the admissions person reading your essay. Admissions officers get a lot of essays about international travel and other more common events that “change your perspective of life,” however, they don’t get a lot of essays on living with and the experiences that come with a congenital heart defect!
For me, however, the absolute best part of my heart is Erin’s Fund. I am eternally grateful to my family for establishing this foundation. Ever since I can remember, Erin’s Fund has always been a huge part of my life. All of my childhood lemonade stands were to raise money to donate. I went door to door selling seashells I decorated at the beach to our neighbors. In high school I started a club called Parts for Hearts. When I got older, I started giving some speeches with my grandfather at various cardiology conventions. Through the years Erin’s Fund has helped shape me as an individual and take ownership and pride in having a congenital heart defect. In addition to my personal development, the ability to give back to not just the medical community in general, but the medical division that saved my life is an incredible feeling. With the foundation, I hope to further research to save and improve the quality of the lives of children with congenital heart defects around the world.
I hope you all can find or start your own version of Erin’s Fund because it has been such a rewarding and empowering experience for me.
I apologize in advance if any of the blog posts seem out of order! For this blog I pretty much just write what comes to mind so they will probably skip around in topic and timeline a lot. Since I was pretty absent this summer I’m hoping to have another post up by the end of the month so be sure to keep an eye out on the blog and the Facebook page!