When news of celebrity Jimmy Kimmel’s baby’s heart defect hit the media, it brought back sad memories for Virginia Grove, a Project HOPE sustaining supporter from Maryland. Virginia’s first daughter, Pam, was born with the same condition – Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital defect that is present at birth. Pam’s specific issue was a hole between two ventricles and a blocked pulmonary artery.
In 1964, when Pam was born, she was referred to as a “blue baby” and pediatric open heart surgery was still relatively new. Fortunately, when Pam was a toddler, she received great care at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa., medical care that Virginia realizes is still not available to millions of other mothers and babies around the world.
As Mother’s Day approached, she began thinking about all the mothers she knew in her life and how lucky these women – like her – were to have access to health care. How could she celebrate their good fortunes while at the same time help those mothers and babies who are less fortunate?
“I was searching Facebook when I saw a post about the Project HOPE Save Newborns Now campaign,” says Virginia. “I knew I could buy Mother's Day cards for all the mothers in my family at about five dollars a card, but then each mother would just have a card. Maybe instead I could give ten dollars per mother to #SaveNewbornsNow. I’ll be sending information about this program to about 16 different mothers in my family.”
Virginia now has three grown children, 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren – all of whom have been blessed with good health care. But she knows that’s not the case for so many others.
“I have chosen to be a regular, monthly supporter of Project HOPE,” says Virginia, “because they can be ‘my hands and feet,’ going where I can't go to help people that I can't help.”
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