HeartWorks - Rock Your Socks
HeartWorks builds, tests, and delivers stem cell therapies to cure congenital heart defects (CHD) giving families the opportunity to live full, enriching lives. They give families hope! HeartWorks was created in June, 2020 to accelerate and expand the product development pioneered by the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), founded at Mayo Clinic in 2010. The HLHS program has formed a nationwide research consortium and developed cell-based therapeutics to treat CHD, some of which are currently in clinical trials.
One of the very first patients in those clinical trials was Ava. A beautiful little girl that we got the privilege to meet and collaborate with last weekend on June 18th. Ryker and Ava share a similar bond... half of a heart. They both have HLHS. (Hypoplastic left heart syndrome) The cool thing about these two kids, is that while they both have half of a heart... when they come together they make a whole! We were honored to collaborate with the DeShaw-Weitl family! The most unique thing about this family is that Ava has a twin brother named Aiden who was not born with the same heart defect as Ava... but her little brother, Miles was also born with HLHS! Talk about two strong parents! I couldn't imagine juggling two heart kids! One Is plenty for this heart mama! They were told that there was a 3 percent chance of having another baby with HLHS after Ava... and it happened!
One thing I immediately noticed about this family is their strength. They have this glow about them. They all carry so much strength with them! Meeting other heart families is always a breeze, because I feel like I already know them. They've been through a similar situation as us and we carry this bond. A bond of strength, courage, blood, sweat, and tears. (Literally) We all go through these life changing situations and we continue to take on new challenges daily. Being heart parents is not for the weak. Its a tough job and we wear that badge with honor. When I meet other heart families, I immediately feel proud. Proud of them for everything they've overcame. The DeShaw-Weitl family was no different. They are a strong family thats been through so much and overcame every obstacle thrown their way.
Ava has this personality of steel. She's full of sass and so funny! I was blown away at this little girls personality! She's wise beyond her years and has this beautiful stubbornness about her that just makes you smile! When you look at her... you automatically know she's one tough little girl and she's not going down without a fight! Ava recently turned nine years old, and In honor of Ava's 9th birthday, Ava’s family wanted to support HeartWorks and the organization’s life changing mission to cure CHD. Ava has always loved funky socks and proudly wears her dad's up to her knees. In thinking about how they could raise money, funky socks seemed like a fun and fitting way to support HeartWorks. Not only do they want to raise money to support HeartWorks, but also want to raise awareness about CHD and all of the incredible warriors like Ava.
Like I said before... when two HLHS kids come together, they go from having two halves of a heart... to a whole heart. So it was a no brainer for 'This Little Heart Of Mine' to collaborate with HeartWorks and Ava's "Rock Your Socks" fundraiser. Ryker and I were honored to join alongside them in spreading CHD awareness and bringing light to such a special cause. We are so happy to have met the DeShaw-Weitl family and we look forward to doing more with them in the future! Their strength inspires us and I can't wait to see all the things they inspire us to do for years to come! HeartWorks is an amazing foundation! It gives heart families like ours HOPE! Something that we all desperately need!
To learn more about HeartWorks, Ava's special socks, and this amazing family click the link here: https://www.heartworksinc.org/shop/limited-edition-ava-sock