Every year, around 500 to 600 babies are born with heart defects in Ireland. It’s an extremely worrying time for parents as they come to terms with their baby’s diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Heart Children Ireland (HCI) provides parents with support and expertise. Currently, they have over 1,000 Irish families registered as members. Our fourth charity of the year doesn’t just help parents and babies. Their mission is to enable all people affected by congenital heart defects to live their best possible lives.
The charity is solely reliant on the kind donations of individuals and businesses to buy life-saving equipment for hospitals. This equipment saves some of the youngest and oldest lives in Our Lady’s Children Hospital and the Adult Congenital Unit at The Mater Hospital.
How Heart Children Ireland Helps Those With Heart Defects Live A Fuller Life
Babies and Children
During regular times, HCI organised events such as summer picnics and art therapy workshops for children to enjoy. At a Christmas party, over 150 children came together and connected as a community. HCI also provides psychology services to children, to help them understand and navigate their heart conditions.
Teens and Adults
Teens have a dedicated clinic room at the Mater Hospital thanks to the charity. It facilitates young people who are transferring from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital. HCI also have guest speakers at their meetings to educate teens and adults on diet, exercise, insurance and lifestyle issues to help them lead a fuller life with heart defects. A full range of psychology services is also available to their members.
From bereavement to understanding a diagnosis, or learning about financial supports, the charity provides a helping hand at every stage. Family members of a person with a heart defect can also access psychology support services.
Parenting courses around Ireland are also on offer to guide guardians on how to communicate with their child about their cardiac condition or to prepare the child to deal with responses from others in relation to their condition.
How you can help a person with a congenital heart defect
To support people with heart defects and HCI, you can get involved in their “step 10k from Spring into Summer“, or make a donation. Alternatively, you can get involved in holding a fundraiser for the charity or volunteer when needed.