Gavin loves to jump on his trampoline and go to the Georgia Aquarium. His mother says, "He just melts my heart. All he has to do is make eye contact with me and I can't help but smile!"

For awhile there was not much that was making this family smile. At 18 months Gavin repeatedly failed his hearing tests. After each test, professionals assured his parents Brooke and Steve that it was not autism. Deep down, Brooke just knew that wasn't true! She took Gavin to see several psychologists who all also believed he was not autistic, but conceded he might have another form of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. By age three, Gavin's language skills had completely deteriorated to the point that he rarely even made eye contact with anyone.


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AuthorRobert Pancake

Generosity is defined by Webster’s as “the trait of being willing to give of your money or time.” It is true that when you think about the word generosity your mind jumps for a monetary gift to someone in need, but not every act of generosity has to have a monetary value.

Generosity can take many forms as Mike and I have learned over the last two years. Generosity can be a simple act of kindness to another human being…simple words that bring peace to the soul of another…it can be as simple as listening to a friend and sharing in their pain or their triumph…it can be a friend or stranger picking up a garage sale flyer or seeing a CHD video and making an anonymous phone call to a foundation about a family they know.


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AuthorRobert Pancake

It is amazing how your life can change in an instant! On July 1, 2010, both of my sons were in an automobile accident. Will, 21, and 15 year-old Blake were working on a jet ski and had gone three miles up the road in Will’s S-10 truck to get some oil. They were T-boned in the passenger side door by an F-350.

Will was cut and bruised badly, but was able to extricate himself. Inch by inch, rescue workers slowly cut Blake out of the vehicle. When the trauma teams started coming in and giving us his status, it did not look good. He had fractured ribs, scapula and pelvis; his spleen and right kidney were lacerated and he had a traumatic brain injury. Over the next several weeks he received speech, physical and occupational therapy. Once at home he developed a blood clot in his internal jugular vein and had to give himself blood thinner shots daily for six months.

 


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AuthorRobert Pancake

Have you ever been at a point in your life when what seems to be a tragedy is the best thing that could have ever happened to you?

On November 8, 1997, my daughter, Bria arrived. After the first few minutes of joy, I remember thinking, Why isn’t she crying? Then, wait! Where is everyone going?  I want to see her too. Don’t leave! I didn’t get to hold her and you don’t even know her name….  Then what seemed like hours later, physicians were urging me to sign papers for surgery. I remember the physician explaining what seemed impossible. I remember screaming, “What is this thing VATER-Syndrome, Cloaca? What? What!” Everything after that was a blur.


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AuthorRobert Pancake

Nate and Kellye Cunningham handed their baby to the doctor. In the back of his mind, Nate couldn’t help but wonder if he would ever see his beautiful daughter again because death is always a possible outcome with heart transplants. It was 10 p.m. as Nate and Kellye headed to the waiting room to be with their families. They all patiently waited, hoped and prayed that Paige would get through this.


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AuthorRobert Pancake

My husband Keith and I are proud parents to a beautiful six-year-old son named Jonathan.  He has autism, along with some other diagnoses.  We were so very fortunate to have been recently awarded a grant from Just Heart Foundation.  This was an amazing gift at a trying time in our lives.  Our son had been participating in the Language and Learning Clinic at the Marcus Autism Center (Atlanta) in the past few months.  Sadly, our insurance does NOT cover such services; therefore we were at first paying out-of-pocket.  We then had to pull Jonathan from the program because we simply could not afford to continue.


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AuthorRobert Pancake

Keith and Lynn are married with several children living in the metro Atlanta area.  One of Keith and Lynn’s sons, Matthew, was born with a heart defect sixteen years ago.  Surgery was performed soon after birth and Matthew has had relatively few problems over his lifetime.  When Keith and Lynn took Matthew for his annual checkup this year, they learned that he would need one more surgery to prevent any future complications as an adult.  Normally, this would not have been a major financial issue for Keith and Lynn, but their current circumstances have temporarily created some hardships.  Keith lost his insurance when he was recently laid off from his job – a job that he had held for nearly fourteen years.  Lynn, a former stay-at-home mom, has taken two jobs while Keith continues to search for work.  As a family, they were keeping up with day-to-day expenses, but did not have the means to pay for Matthew’s expensive surgery.


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AuthorRobert Pancake