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Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills declares Feb. 14 Cogenital Heart Defect awareness day

February 7, 2019   ·   0 Comments


February 14 has been declared Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day in Shelburne. 

In what has become an annual event, Mayor Wade Mills read the proclamation before the families of Penny Clarkson and Tyson Kottelenberg, both of whom are alive today because of awareness of this disease.

Both Tyson and Penny are, by all appearances, perfectly healthy active kids, yet both of them have undergone and will undergo numerous medical procedures to help treat their diease, including, open heart surgeries. 

Tyson’s mom, Melissa Kottelenberg started this awareness campaign, when Tyson was only a year old, in part because 1 in 100 babies have CHD and yet hardly anyone was aware of the disease. 

Through awareness, comes not only detection, but research and through research, hopefully, a cause and a cure. There are at least 18 possible types of heart defects and the range from relatively simple to extremely complex.

When Tyson was born, Melissa had already had three other sons, she was aware of what infant boys were like and something about Tyson alarmed her. Over the protestations of the staff, Melissa refused to leave the hospital until a pediatrician had seen her baby. The doctor took a quick look and immediately rushed down the hall, with the infant in hand, for immediate treatment. Thus began the life of ten-year old Tyson Kottelenberg. Today, you would never guess he had this condition.

For four-year-old Penny Clarkson, the story was slightly different. Born at home, to mom, Amanda Carter, Penny at first seemed fine. However, then she started to sleep, all the time and would not nurse for normal periods of time. She seemed to suffer shortness of breath and she was not at all active. Amanda took her to Headwaters Health Care Centre for a check-up and there she was told that Penny had symptoms of CHD. The diagnosis was confirmed at Sick Kids. Although not through with treatments, they will follow her, her entire life, Penny is a happy active four-year-old today and her mother is active in promoting awareness of the disease to everyone she can.

This Valentine’s Day, take a moment to remember these two exceptional kids and the hundreds of others like them, who are alive and well today because someone became aware, of the symptoms of CHD and had them tested and treated.



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