This post was written by me through an activation with HireInfluence on behalf of BIOLIFE4D. Although I received compensation for participating in the campaign, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Heart disease is something that I take very seriously for a multitude of reasons; the main being that heart disease is the leading cause of death of women in the United States (based on the CDC in 2017). It's not just women, though one third of women do die from heart disease each year - one fourth of men die from heart disease yearly as well, and only 5,000 heart transplants happen annually...with over 600,000 left waiting - and hoping! The second major reason is that heart disease runs on both sides of my family, and my paternal grandmother passed away due to complications after surgery after her heart attack in 2016.
My grandmother, whom we referred to as "Mamaw," was one of my closest family members. So close that we used to send letters back and forth to each other during summers when she'd spend those warm months in North Carolina on the old family homestead. When I was 18, I actually left Miami and went to live with her there for a short while. She suffered from a variety of heart problems during her last ten years, in and out of the hospital, surgery upon surgery...it wasn't pretty. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch her health slowly decline, and when she passed away after her heart attack in 2016, the entire family was utterly devastated. Yes, we all knew it would eventually happen, but I don't think you're ever really prepared to lose a loved one - even when they are suffering from a known heart problem.
My maternal grandfather also suffers from heart disease and has had several surgeries, but is in better overall health than my grandmother was. It is something that our family thinks about constantly: heart disease.
When I was approached to work on a sponsored campaign with BioLife4D, I knew that this was a campaign perfect for me. While not everyone is a candidate for a new heart if they suffer from heart conditions, there are MANY heart patients whose lives can be saved by a heart transplant. While there are options for heart or valve transplants, using animal valves as a short term solution, etc, there simply aren't enough options for these heart patients waiting for life-saving surgery...and that is where BioLife4D comes in.
BioLife4D’s goal is to 3D print a viable human heart suitable for transplant! Yes, a 3D human heart, and this technology would help eliminate waiting for donor organs, eliminate challenges of organ rejection and increase the life span of more patients. Increased life span of a heart patient...we're talking about extending a human life with the help of technology like never before! I know it may seem like science-fiction, but it is SCIENCE FACT. Bioprinted organs are becoming a reality, and you can help make it more of a reality by investing and sharing this challenge to help BioLife find investors! You can find out how to invest on BioLife4D.com. Biolife4d has started an equity crowdfunding event where the general public can join their journey.
The issue is that BioLife4D’s research is funded by private equity, and like everything else "privately funded," they need investors. I am participating in the ACT OF HEART Challenge on behalf of people like my great aunt, my grandfather, my grandmother - all people who had heart conditions, heart attacks, or heart disease in general, because I know the value of having a healthy heart.
The ACT OF HEART Challenge
The Act of Heart Challenge is simple: engage in an “Act of Heart” by sending a “heart”-warming card to a child or patient in a hospital. This is a great way to teach your children about showing kindness to strangers, teach them about the importance of human life...and hello, it's just good karma.
Angeline and I sent this cute little Disney card and will be sending more this week!
All cards should be sent to:
Texas Children’s Hospital
ATTN: Volunteer Services
6621 Fannin Street, Suite A1125
Houston, TX 77030
Send as many as you like, and it would be amazing if you could also tag some friends and ask them to join the challenge as well with the #BL4DActsofHeart hashtag to help raise awareness! I was tagged by my lovely friend Brett Martin of This Mama Loves to participate in this challenge and I am reaching out to friends and family on social media to encourage them too!