Wednesday, February 4, 2015

“Affairs of the Heart….Sustaining Heart Beats One at a Time: Tyrese’s Journey to Heart Health

February is a special month. It’s a month to celebrate love and matters of the heart; it’s Valentine’s time and Heart Month.  As you get ready for Valentine’s, The Heart Ball Committee is calling on you to remember a child in need of heart care; please help to save a life.

Heart disease is the number one killer of persons in The Bahamas and around the world, regardless of age. It can create an emotional and financial challenge when it hits those most vulnerable, our children. Oftentimes, the parents of children with heart disease cannot financially assist their child with heart care; they need help to save their child’s life. The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization, strives to help repair the hearts of children who can not ordinarily afford heart care. They rely heavily upon the generosity of the public to help save lives.

As Valentine’s approach, a family is grateful that their daughter received a late Christmas present for Valentine’s and was given an opportunity to live. The Glinton family is now calling on others to join them in the fight against heart disease in children.

In May 2011, Tyrese Glinton was born. Her parents were very excited about the birth. However, they were not prepared for the news that was to come.

Immediately after Tyrese’s birth, medical examinations revealed that Tyrese had a heart murmur. Further testing revealed she had a large hole in her heart and was diagnosed with teratology of fallot (TOF). TOF causes low oxygen levels in the blood; a child can turn bluish-purple and die. Before she could have surgery, she was hospitalized due to smoke inhalation that resulted in her not being able to breathe and turning purple.

This leads to cyanosis (a bluish-purple color to the skin). The classic form includes four defects of the heart and its major blood vessels. Whilst the cost of and ECG may be someone’s weekly salary, the cost of a surgery to correct TOF is simply unaffordable to many. The surgery to correct TOF can cost over $250,000. Without care, a child can die. Sadly, in June 2011, Tyrese had a close encounter after smoke inhalation from a distant fire that resulted in her not being able to breathe and turning purple; she was hospitalized and later released. Her parents prayed for a miracle to repair Tyrese’ heart, so she would never undergo such an experience again.  

Thanks to the generosity of The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, Tyrese had heart surgery on February 15, 2012, at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.  Tyrese stayed in hospital 5 weeks recovering from surgery and complications that arose during and after surgery, including a stroke. Today, Tyrese is a very active 3 year old who shares her story.

With a thankful heart and an understanding of the challenges and concerns parents and The Heart Foundation face, Tyrese’s mother wishes to encourage the public to support The Heart Foundation.

“I am truly grateful that my baby is alive today. I am grateful to The Heart Foundation and Dr. Jerome Lightbourne for all they have done.

Put yourself in my shoes. Suppose it were your child. You’d want someone to help. One day it can happen to you. You never know. Help the children. They need help. The Heart Foundation save lives”.

On Saturday February 14th, 2015, under the patronage of Her Excellency Dame Margueritte Pindling, Governor-General, and The Right Honourable Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister, and Mrs. Christie, the Heart Ball Committee will host the Annual Heart Ball at Melia Nassau Beach. The theme for this event is “Affairs of the Heart….Sustaining Heart Beats One at a Time”.  This is event the main fundraiser to aid The Heart Foundation. Tickets for regular seating are $250 per person. Platinum seating is also available. 

The public can further assist The Heart Foundation via: donations (time, money, gifts), sponsorship, sponsoring events, purchasing ads in the Heart Ball booklet, supporting events hosted by The Heart Ball Committee or in aid of The Heart Foundation, media support, joining the Bahamas Heart Association and much more. 

Finally, please be on the look-out for the Heart Month Calendar and participate in the events. These are opportunities to keep your heart healthy and also to help repair the heart of a child.

To purchase tickets or for more details, please call 327-0806. 

She enjoys running around, dancing, talking, walking, and playing with twin sisters.