WHAT IS A CONGENITAL DIAPHRAGMATIC HERNIA?

A congenital diaphragmatic hernia (commonly referred to as CDH) is an opening in the diaphragm (the large dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen.) The hole allows the abdominal organs to push into the chest cavity. CDH is a life-threatening birth defect because it limits the growth of the lungs.

Breath of Hope, Inc. has increased awareness of the congenital diaphragmatic hernia birth defect. We proclaimed March 31st as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day®. We gave parents and survivors of this birth defect a platform to share their story and educate the public. Through our campaign we have educated the governors of 34 states, several mayors and council members about the congenital diaphragmatic hernia birth defect. Breath of Hope, Inc. is committed to educating the public and spreading awareness about this often fatal birth defect.

If you believe in our Mission, please join us.

Every day you live you project congenital diaphragmatic hernia awareness. Sometimes you do this silently and sometimes very vocally. You always are aware and you wish all others would be too.

A parent of a child who is surviving this birth defect, your child does something you never thought they would do when they were in the NICU and it brings you to tears. “I never thought my child would ever color like others”. You savor every moment and you fear every turn that maybe you will wake from this dream and it will become a nightmare again.

As a parent of an angel who fought valiantly and chose wings, you see signs in the butterflies that land on your nose or the rainbow that suddenly fills the sky when you are at your bluest blue. Still these babies can make our heart soar. You savored each moment and treasure your memories.

Both know the real normal is just a setting on the washing machine. Both were shocked at the news that their infant had this birth defect that when laid out seemed bigger than they would ever be but they both fought like warriors we read of in novels. That alone makes us pick up and move forward, telling our stories to make others aware.

You tell others to educate them that congenital diaphragmatic hernia happens just as often as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and congenital muscular dystrophy. Others have heard of those and know of them but few have still heard of CDH. Many dismiss it as a “hernia” and ignore the simple fact that still today over all the survival rates are 50%. You know that 1800 families each year have their child diagnosed just as you did. You know the fear, helplessness and hope these families go through each and every moment. You know what they will face.

This is why each year we ask our states and localities to issue a Proclamation for March 31st to be Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day. It is a day to celebrate. It is another day to add to our own children’s birthday or birthday and angel day. It is a day to have our government officials to acknowledge that this birth defect still needs more education, awareness and more research to improve the survival rates, to lessen the residuals survivors and their families endure. We need more families to burst into tears when their child jumps for the first time because they once thought they never would.

Each year, more and more people are becoming aware – and it is because of the families who take an hour of their time to sit down, edit a letter and mail it with a sample proclamation and perhaps pictures of their own child. You then will receive this astounding document an acknowledgment that government works for the people, by the people and for you. You hold this tangible piece that states you made others aware that may never have been otherwise.

Please contact us at cdhawareness@breathofhopeinc.com for a sample letter and proclamation, we will be happy to send them to you and ask all you do, is send us a photo or a scan of the document when you receive it! When at times you have felt powerless in this journey with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, you have the power to do this!

Every time you stand up for an ideal, you send forth a tiny ripple of hope. – Robert Kennedy

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