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NZ Actor Will Hall and son Jed show their love in a different way on Valentine’s Day

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

NZ Actor Will Hall and his son Jed are showing their love in a different way on Valentine’s Day.

For many people this Friday 14th February will be all about flowers, chocolates and expressing love. But for thousands of New Zealanders this date has a lot more significance.

February 14th is also International CHD Day (congenital heart disease) or as we call it in New Zealand, "Little Heart Day." It recognises the 12 babies born every week in New Zealand with a heart defect.

It is a little known fact that a CHD affects 1 in 100 children and is the most common serious birth defect. It is also the number 1 cause of death for infants and newborns in New Zealand. There is neither prevention nor cure for a CHD.

When Kiwi actor Will Hall discovered his 18 month old son’s small heart murmur was in fact a serious congenital heart defect (CHD) his world was turned upside down. "The cliché "why me" was already a recurring thought for me and my wife Sarah. Our first-born Freddie underwent life-saving surgery on day three, and then we received this diagnosis for Jed."

Doctors informed Will and Sarah that Jed had a number of defects, but his bicuspid valve and coarctation of the aorta would be operated on immediately. "It was a fairly common procedure, and Jed’s recovery was super fast, but it was still a harrowing time. There is a high chance he’ll need to be opened up again in the future for valve surgery."

Heart Kids is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support services to kids, teens, adults living with a childhood heart condition and their families. It is the only organisation in NZ dedicated to supporting heart kids through life.

On Little Heart Day thousands of people and children from pre-schools, schools, community groups, businesses and organisations will be wearing red, raising funds for Heart Kids and celebrating the lives of our heart kids.

Will says while support from families and friends is so important, it is the connection with other heart families and Heart Kids NZ which has made a real difference. "The work Heart Kids does, the services they offer, the family matching service and the way they advocate for kids with CHDs and their families, is exceptional."

"To all the other Heart Dads and parents of children with any serious medical condition - you are not alone. Speak up, join a group like Heart Kids and get to know others on a similar path".

What can you do on February 14th?

- Wear Red and show your love in a different way this Valentine’s Day

- Go to www.heartkids.org.nz to find out more about CHDs or make a donation

- Use the #littleheartday on any social media posts and tag @heartkidsnz

- Text HEART to 2427 to make a $3 donation

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