My name is Katie Jansson and I live in Georgetown, Texas. I am the proud aunt of Oliver Eugene Elijah Klintworth, a brave heart warrior. On February 6th, 2018, my sweet nephew Oliver was born with a complex CHD (double inlet left ventricle with criss-crossing ventricles and an interrupted aortic arch). In his short life, he endured two open heart surgeries, one emergency heart cath, pokes, prods, IVs, PICC lines, tests, scans, transfusions, CPR, ECMO, and the list goes on. On March 24th, 2018, the world lost the bravest, most courageous little heart warrior I know. In his 47 days on this earth, Oliver managed to unite people in prayer, touch the hearts of people across the country, and change and impact many lives. Even though I miss Oliver desperately, I continue to be inspired and encouraged by him and his strength and bravery. Every time I face a challenge I think I cannot overcome, I think of Oliver and am reminded to live boldly.
After walking through Oliver’s heart journey with my sister and brother-in-law, I am more aware of the thousands of families who are impacted each year by CHD. Oliver’s life has ignited a passion in me towards the 1 in 100 children whose lives are cut short or negatively impacted by CHD. I am honored to be able to run my 3rd marathon in Oliver's memory while raising funds and awareness for The Children's Heart Foundation. #oliverthestrong 💜 🦁
The Children’s Heart Foundation
The Children’s Heart Foundation is the country's leading organization solely dedicated to funding research for congenital heart defects (CHDs). Congenital heart defects are America’s most common birth defect - nearly 40,000 babies (or approximately 1% of all births) are born with congenital heart defects each year in the U.S.
The Children’s Heart Foundation was founded by Betsy and Steve Peterson after their 8-year-old son, Sam, died of multiple organ failure brought on by a sudden heart-related collapse. Sam was born with complex CHDs and had Sam been born 20 years earlier, he would not have survived at all. During his short life, Sam proved that medical research and technology could conquer congenital heart defects, if only for a short while.
It’s through continued research that children born with congenital heart defects have a chance to survive – which is why CHF is dedicated to funding this critical research. The Children’s Heart Foundation’s mission is to fund the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects. Since 1996, CHF has funded more than $11.1 million of research.
Although CHDs are the most common cause of infant death due to birth defects, research for congenital heart defects remains grossly under-funded relative to the prevalence of the disease. Because of medical advancements made through research, death rates from congenital heart defects in the U.S. have declined by 37.5% since 1999 but we need to do more. It is our hope that by funding more research, we will live a world in which all babies born with congenital heart defects live long, healthy lives, and that eventually, congenital heart defects will be eradicated altogether.