As a college student, research has become part of my daily routine. I am continually seeking information for my next report, preparing for next semester’s classes or learning about job opportunities following graduation.
To some students, research means more time, more effort, more work. To me however, research means life.
You see, doctors discovered that I was born with a congenital heart defect when I was 16 years old. I underwent heart surgery to have the defect repaired and have felt healthier ever since. I am less tired and have more endurance during activities.
The American Heart Association reports that approximately 36,000 babies are born each year with heart defects. It’s estimated that between 650,000 to 1.3 million Americans with cardiovascular defects are alive today.
The discovery of my congenital heart defect, along with the procedure that repaired it, was possible due to research. The American Heart Association considers research a priority and has invested more than $2.9 billion in research since 1948. American Heart Association funded research has led to the discovery and development of many treatments and procedures which have saved countless lives including CPR, bypass surgery, stents, clot-busting drugs and transplantation. In fact, the American Heart Association is second only to the federal government in cardiovascular disease and stroke research funding.
Though ongoing research, at least 35 congenital defects have now been identified.
So to me, and to thousands more, research means a better quality of life. It means hope. It means that more babies will grow and live stronger, heart-healthy lives. Research means life.
I urge our community to support the American Heart Association’s life-saving research. Visit americanheart.org/research to learn more.
American Heart Association Survivor Ambassador
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