When my husband Alex and I found out we were expecting a baby boy, we were elated. Ten minutes later, our world crashed down around us with seven simple words: "There's something wrong with the baby's heart" - words that countless families hear each year. Congenital Heart Defects are the #1 most common birth defect.
After our diagnosis, we explored different care options for our son and one place became the clear choice: Children's Hospital Colorado. I (Becca) reached out to Dr. Bettina Cuneo (a fetal cardiologist at CHCO) and within 12 minutes she had emailed me back - she was so welcoming and for the first time gave us hope for our son. The moment we walked in the doors of the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children's Hospital Colorado we knew this was where we needed to be.
Prenatally, Oliver faced a fatal heart rhythm and subsequent heart failure. Our team at CFCC worked hard to save Ollie and allow me to continue the pregnancy. Our son Oliver was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) in 2017. The hospital became our home away from home for several months after Ollie was born while he underwent several open heart surgeries and countless complications. Ollie has now had three open heart surgeries completed by Dr. Jim Jaggers - his most recent in July 2020 at the age of 3 years. He sees his team (Dr. Adel Younoszai and Dr. Mike DiMaria) in the Heart Institute regularly to keep him thriving. Ollie is a wild, rambunctious, kind-hearted, and energetic almost-four-year-old - you'd never know just looking at him that he has a congenital heart defect.
Our care team at Children's Hospital Colorado, as well as the Foundation and marketing teams, have become family to us. Ollie would not be here today and thriving without the care we've received. He will not be the last child to face CHD and we are not the last family who will hear those seven scary words.
I ride for Ollie. I ride for families like ours. I ride to give hope to CHD patients and families everywhere. And I ride to support Children's Hospital Colorado in their mission to ensure all children have a chance at a healthy, energetic future.