Celebrating Hearts in March

courage for carina celebrating hearts in marchIt’s hard to believe that it’s March already. It seems like just a day or 2 ago Bekah was making Valentine’s cards for her friends at Sunday School while Sam sat in his highchair sampling applesauce and snacks to make the best combination for his friends too.

As he played and Bekah painted, I thought about how hearts are everywhere and on everything and how no one really pays much attention to all of those cute little symbols of love.

We think about hearts a lot here at our house. In fact, while everyone else celebrates hearts in February, we reserve most of our excitement for March 6, Happy Heart Day, the day of Bekah’s open heart surgery.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 3 years already. It’s even harder to look back and relive all of the emotions that went into knowing our daughter’s heart was going to stop beating, even if just for a little while.

courage for carina celebrating hearts in marchAll of the hearts hanging around serve as a simple reminder that Heart Day is coming soon to the Plant house. It’s not just at Valentine’s Day though.

Each time we look for something for Bekah I’m surprised at how many clothes and toys are covered in hearts, and the more I think about them, the more I notice. It’s not bad, and I’m not complaining about it.

I am, however, acutely aware that if as many people put as much time and effort into their ACTUAL hearts as they do the cute and fabulous ones hanging all around, we’d be much better off.

Bekah is spending 2015 as the Heart Child for the Youngstown Area’s American Heart Association.Throughout the year we’ll be sharing what it was like to have a baby with a congenital heart defect, who underwent open heart surgery, and what the last 3 years have been like for our family.
Bekah has already participated in a lot of activities—a pasta cook-off, the Heart Ball—and she’ll be doing more (hey, our Heart Walk team, “Fans of Bekah” always has room if you’re feeling like having some fun in September) as the year goes on.

courage for carina celebrating hearts in march

Chris and I spoke at a luncheon on March 6, at about the same time as Bekah was coming out of surgery at Akron Children’s Hospital 3 years ago. It’s one of the only engagements for which I’ve ever written out what I plan to say.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what it is I want people to know about since Bekah was born with 2 gaping holes in her heart.

As we look back over the past 3 years, what’s most important to all of us, is sharing Bekah’s story—a story of hope—and bringing awareness to those who hear and see her that even though hearts are super cute, they’re even cuter if they’re healthy.

This story first appeared on Akron Children’s Inside Children’s blog.

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Posted on: March 24, 2015

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The Courage for Carina Foundation was a mere thought following the death of our only child. This little girl touched the lives of so many during her short life that we knew in some fashion that her legacy needed to be carried on. Joe and I were truly inspired by the Hospice and Palliative Care Team of Akron Children’s Hospital.…

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