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Friday, February 8, 2013
Insurance Commissioner to Help Raise Awareness of Congenital Heart Defects in Children
OKLAHOMA CITY –Just two days after doctors performed a cardiac procedure on his daughter, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak will take part in a balloon release to raise awareness of congenital heart defects in children.
“This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart,” said Doak. “My daughter Kasey was born with a congenital heart defect. She had three open heart surgeries before she was three years old. This is a terrifying time for parents and my wife Debby and I fully support the Mended Little Hearts support group and its efforts to raise awareness of this important issue.”
Kasey, 16, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in utero. Doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy. But Doak, a passionate pro-life supporter, refused. Kasey received three successful open heart surgeries before her third birthday. She’d been living a normal, healthy life until this year when her routine physical activities began to leave her weak. Doctors found collateral veins growing in her heart. Thursday’s procedureat Saint Francis Children’s Hospital in Tulsa should alleviate the problem.
“We are so blessed and so fortunate to have the great outcome we did,” said Doak.
While at the hospital, Doak met Susan Vanderpool, a fellow parent dealing with a congenital heart defect. She is the founder of the Tulsa chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a non-profit organization that provides hope and support to children, families and caregivers impacted by congenital heart defects.Her son Max, 7, has had 27 procedures in his short life.
“The experience is so terrifying, but I want parents to know they’re not alone,” said Vanderpool. “I want them to look at my son Max running and jumping around, like any other boy, and know that there’s hope. Sharing our stories and supporting each other makes us stronger. ”
The event takes place Saturday, Feb. 9th at noon outside the main entrance of Saint Francis Children’s Hospital at 6161 S. Yale Ave. The event honors all children born with a congenital heart defect, the number one birth defect, affecting nearly 40,000 babies a year. Supporters will release red balloons for those currently living with a congenital heart defect and yellow balloons for those who have passed away from a congenital heart defect.
For more information contact:
Kelly Collins (405) 522-0683
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.