We are participating in the Race for Every Child because Children's National Health System did more for our family in the span of one year than we could have ever imagined. Not only did it provide the most comprehensive and advanced care for our critically ill son, but it provided a home and support for our entire family. Because of that, Jeff and I have become very committed to giving back and to supporting Children's National and the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit ("CICU"), the only home our son, Ari, ever knew.
We are passionate about supporting Children's National because we now know first-hand how important it is for a child to have access to specialized medical care and how such care can make a difference in a child's life. On January 12, 2016, we learned that our unborn son had congenital complete heart block. At that time, he had a heart rate of 50 bpm, which is only 1/3 of what a healthy 27 week old fetus should have. Immediate in utero treatment was necessary to give him a chance at survival. We also learned that he would need a pacemaker almost immediately after birth to ensure an increased heart rate and to allow for adequate growth, development, and vitality. On March 7, 2016, Ari was born - 5 weeks early - and was immediately admitted to the CICU at Children's National in D.C. Six months later, on September 10, 2016, Ari passed away and became our angel.
In his six short months of life, Ari underwent numerous surgeries and faced more than his fair share of complications. From sepsis and other unknown infections, to developing blood clots necessitating a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg, to a diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension and associated lung issues, the doctors and nurses at Children's National were there for Ari through it all. The care they all provided - not just for Ari, but for us as well - was truly exceptional.
We chose the name Ari because it means lion. We knew that Ari would need to be a fighter and that he would need great strength and courage to battle through his heart disease. Ari fought through more than we ever expected, and he definitely embodied his name.
Despite the fact that Ari is no longer with us, we realize how extremely fortunate we were. Not only did we have this amazing hospital close by, but we also never had to compromise the choices we made. Whether it was having family by his bedside constantly each day or knowing we had incredible insurance that never forced us to cut corners or have limited options for care, we were able to ensure that Ari had the best care.
However, there are children from all over the world that come to Children's National in pursuit of a cure and uninsured children throughout the Washington, D.C. region that rely on this hospital for even the most basic medical care. For them, the journey is not as easy and the options not always as plentiful. Anything we can all do together to help even one more child is important.
Your support of the Race for Every Child will help Children¹s National ensure that every child in our community and those with rare conditions from around the world get the best level of care - even if their family can't afford to pay. From bumps and bruises, to life-threatening diseases, these children are counting on all of us.
We would love for you to join us in supporting this important mission and amazing hospital. You can do so by signing up to run or walk with our team, sharing this with your family and friends so they can join us as well, or by donating to support our team today.
Thank you for supporting Children's National and the CICU, the only home Ari ever knew. Your support will help us give every patient at Children's National a chance at a healthier future.
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