U-M Mott Heart Walk team walks in memory of baby Callen

Callen's Crusaders walking in honor of baby who lost his life to hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Mott team blog

Members of the Mott team, who walked together in the 2014 Heart Walk, will join forces again this year, walking in memory of baby Callen.

On May 9, hundreds of U-M employees will lace up their walking shoes at the Eastern Michigan University campus as they join the effort to fight heart disease. They’ll be walking in the American Heart Association’s 2015 Washtenaw County Heart Walk/5K Run to raise money for cardiovascular education and research.

Among these dedicated walkers will be Dianne Sadler, a referral coordinator at Mott Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Medical Specialty Clinics, and her team, “Callen’s Crusaders.” Together, they’ll be walking in memory of Callen, the son of U-M co-worker Tammara Francis. Born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), sadly, Callen died on the day he was born.

Making strides in the fight against heart disease

HLHS is a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. As the baby develops during pregnancy, the left side of the heart does not form correctly. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is one type of congenital heart defect.

Heart defects, the most common type of defect babies are born with, affect approximately 1 out of every 110 babies. According to the American Heart Association, heart defects continue to be the greatest source of infant deaths related to birth defects.

HW_LIW_CMYK_red+k_HThe University of Michigan Health System is making great strides in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease through top-notch clinical and research capabilities. The American Heart Association supports these efforts and funds many cardiovascular research studies within U-M. In return, U-M is a major supporter of the AHA’s 2015 Washtenaw County Heart Walk/5K Run, which raises money for cardiovascular education and research.

Why they walk

The decision to walk in memory of Callen was a natural one for Dianne, who has participated in several Heart Walks in the past, including last year when she and her team, Ethan’s Emissaries, walked in support of another co-worker whose unborn child was also diagnosed with HLHS. Ethan, born just 12 days after last year’s walk, is healthy as he nears his first birthday.

Dianne says the Heart Walk is a good way for her and her team to show support for Tammara, to honor the memory of Callen and to raise funds for heart disease research. The team’s fundraising goal this year is $2,000.

This show of support is a blessing to Tammara, who is pregnant and unable to walk with Callen’s Crusaders. But her thoughts will be with the team as they walk in memory of her firstborn child.

Take the next step:

  • To join the U-M Team, visit washtenawheartwalk.org.
  • For questions or help registering, contact Tara Tomcsik (tara.tomcsik@heart.org, 734-945-5895) or Traci Fischer (fischert@med.umich.edu, 734-232-1866).

new_logos_180x1806For more than 160 years, the University of Michigan Health System has been a national leader in advanced patient care, innovative research to improve human health and comprehensive education of physicians and medical scientists. The three U-M hospitals have been recognized numerous times for excellence in patient care, including a #1 ranking in Michigan and national rankings in many specialty areas by U.S. News & World Report.  

Wrapping up heart month: Three women share their joy, straight from the heart

A look back at how three U-M patients are doing today

As we near the end of Heart Month, here’s a look back at some of the patients who shared their U-M experiences with us in 2014. All three have a story to tell about the joy in their hearts, thanks in part to the doctors at the University of Michigan.

Baby Ethan is thriving

Ethan 1 blog

Baby Ethan, with brother Emiliano, is thriving.

Last May, a special team joined hundreds of U-M employees on the campus of Eastern Michigan University for the American Heart Association’s 2014 Washtenaw County Heart Walk/5K Run. This effort to help fight heart disease and stroke was particularly meaningful for the team named  “Ethan’s Emissaries.”

The 26-member group was walking in honor of an unborn child who had been diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare condition in which the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped. Ethan was born May 22, just 12 days after the walk in his honor.

Today, according to his mother, Betty Esquivel, a medical assistant in U-M’s bone marrow transplant clinic, he is thriving. As expected, Ethan has faced several operations, including surgery four days after birth for a heart shunt and again five months later to remove the shunt, which he had outgrown.

Betty says Ethan requires extra precautions to keep him from getting a cold or virus, which could affect his heart. Otherwise, he’s doing even better than U-M doctors originally thought. “He’s gaining weight and isn’t too far behind in his development,” Betty says proudly.

Betty, her husband Andres and their two-year-old son Emiliano have welcomed Ethan into the family with open arms, thankful for the joy this special child has brought to their lives.

Read more about Ethan’s story. Continue reading

U-M Mott team dedicates Heart Walk to unborn child

Ethan's Emissaries walking in honor of baby with hypoplastic left heart syndrome

More than 2,150 Americans die from cardiovascular disease each day — one every 40 seconds. Similarly, one person in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies from stroke every four minutes.

The University of Michigan Health System is making great strides in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease through top-notch clinical and research capabilities. The American Heart Association supports these efforts and funds many cardiovascular research studies within U-M. In return, U-M is a major supporter of the AHA’s 2014 Washtenaw County Heart Walk/5K Run, which raises money for cardiovascular education and research.

Rallying for baby Ethan

On May 10, hundreds of U-M employees will put on their walking shoes at the Eastern Michigan University campus and join the effort to help fight heart disease and stroke.

American_Heart_Walk_001 450x320

The Ethan’s Emissaries team is 26 members strong. Photo: Leisa Thompson

This year, Ethan’s Emissaries — one of the dedicated U-M teams — will be walking in honor of an unborn child who has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. HLHS is a rare condition in which the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped. The baby’s mother, Betty Esquivel, a medical assistant at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Medical Specialty Clinics, is due to give birth to Ethan on May 21. He will face several surgeries, including at birth, 6 months and 2 years. Continue reading

Getting social gets results

U-M Pediatric cardiologist turns to social media to study HLHS treatment complications

When you’re dealing with a rare condition, conducting research can be challenging since the pool of study participants is so small. That’s one of the challenges Kurt Schumacher, MD, faced with his investigation of complications developed by some patients who have undergone a Fontan procedure, a heart surgery used to treat some congenital heart anomalies.

Continue reading