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The miracles that can take place when a parent is motivated by their children's love is amazing. We hear stories of parents who find superhero, confront danger and sacrifice their own lives if needed to protect their young. The same supernatural power is what drives parents to change laws, create movements and inspire the world to become a better place for our children. As a brand founded in the same spirit of love for children, we would like to recognize one of our favorite foundations that has changed the lives of millions of children – The Newborn Foundation.
"It's something wrong. We need to transfer your baby right now."
These are not the words you want to hear when you prepare to take your newborn orphanage. But they are the exact words Annamarie Saarinen and her husband heard while before leaving the hospital.
When they were preparing for discharge, the rounding children stopped to see their new girlfriend. She listened to her heartbeat and heard a wall wall, which is quite common and innocent among infants. It was something she was comfortable waiting to check in later – at her weekly exchange after the discharge check. 30 minutes later, the pediatrician called back to the room. Occasionally there was a child electronics technician who had brought special equipment over to the hospital to evaluate another baby that afternoon. They can also just squeeze Saarinen's newborn into an evaluation – just for "peace of mind" before the Saarinen family went home. Less than an hour later, a pediatric cardiologist was standing in the doorway of his hospital room and reported that their child was in heart failure. Her heart was already three times larger than normal – and she needed to be transported immediately to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital.
Annamarie and her husband were stunned. They hadn't even decided on a name yet. Their children looked and acted quite well. How could they be away from welcoming their new nanny home to be fully engaged in a struggle for their lives? They are called her Eve – and the months that followed were full of tests, medications and hospital stays. Doctors were unsure of Eva's future. They recommended a series of operations to repair her little walnut size. The family was preparing for the worst but never gave up as doctors halfway across the country in Boston, successfully performing the operations. Eva and her family fought for their lives and won.
While Annamarie was incredibly grateful for Eva's recovery, she was haunted by the thought of how she was away from taking her orphanage with an undiagnosed and potentially fatal heart failure. She started digging – learning that 1 in 100 children were born with a congenital heart failure or CHD. More amazing, it was 1 out of 3 children with heart disease leave the hospital without a diagnosis. She could not imagine or accept the heartache experienced by parents who have / may have lost children simply because their heart problems were completely missing or not diagnosed in time.
Through her research she learned about pulse oximetry, a painless, fast and inexpensive way to screen for heart failure. At that time, only a few European studies and small pilots were underway. She saw an opportunity to make a difference. She founded the newborn foundation and worked with Eva's medical team to establish the first pilot project for several hospitals that was done in collaboration with a state health institution. That information and experience made its way to Washington DC, to the Federal Advisory Committee, which evaluates all the things that every newborn is screened for before discharge. That committee (ACHDNC) and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services soon recommended that all 4 million children born in the United States be screened annually for critical congenital heart defects. State-by-State continued Annamarie and Newborn Foundation to combat the mandatory screening of newborns with pulsimximetry. She testified in front of lawmakers and other public officials about the importance of finding serious "hidden" health problems in infants. The technique was the key to early detection. Early detection was the key to survival.
It has been 10 years since Eva was born and in just a few years, the Newfound Foundation's advocacy and political efforts have transformed the landscape of newborn health, saving and improving the lives of thousands of children worldwide. Because of Eva and her motivated mother, all 4 million newborns were born every year in the United States is now screened with pulse oximetry for heart failure and other serious health conditions. The Newborn Foundation's work has since expanded internationally with UN partnerships and screening, telehealth and infrastructure programs in more than a dozen countries, including the UK, the Philippines, Mongolia, India, Bolivia, Mexico and China. In a remarkable success story, China recently laid this last summer formal to newborn heart screening for its universal focus). Their work is far from over.
Last week, Eva was 10 years old. This milestone birthday would not be possible without Eva having previously "hidden" (but life-threatening) conditions such as newborn and medical technology access and law that led her through HALF A DOZEN operations. To celebrate her life, Eve made a birthday wish to help others benefit from the same early discovery and access to care that saved her life.
Learn how to make a difference by clicking on the link below.