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.
Do you know what the number one killer is in the U.S? This destroyer of families causes one in every three deaths for women and one in four for men.
Those are pretty startling numbers.
Let me give you a hint. It’s not cancer. This disease kills far more people than all of the cancers combined.
If you haven’t guessed the answer yet, it’s heart disease. Heart disease has become the number one cause of death in our country.
I do what I can to educate people about making healthy lifestyle choices. And I try to live as healthy as possible at home with my family as well.
That doesn’t mean that illness and disease never touch our family or friends. I recently learned that someone close to me was diagnosed with diastolic dysfunction – which is a heart condition I had never heard of.
I’m not sure that this person has made this news public yet, so I won’t share names or how I know this person, but it has made me acutely aware of how close to home heart disease can really hit.
I have another friend whose husband received a heart transplant over a year ago. They were lucky they were able to save him.
Sometimes when heart conditions are discovered, it’s too late and the heart can’t be saved. So, the patient goes on the waiting list for a donor heart or valves to repair it.
Waiting for a donor could go either way. Perhaps they receive a donor heart or the necessary valves in time to save their life. Or perhaps they can’t find a match in time and it's another life lost to heart disease.
There are 600,000 people who need a donor heart at any given time. And there are only 5,000 heart transplants done each year. Those numbers are so far out of alignment it’s not even funny.
Other options like using animal valves as an alternative to a human heart transplant are absolutely viable. However, they’re only a short-term solution as animal valves often do not have an equivalent shelf life as human hearts and valves.
So, the patient eventually finds themselves right back in the position of needing more medical attention after some time.
Can We 3D Print a Human Heart?
3D printing is one of most amazing advancements that I’ve seen so far in my life. So I was really struck when I read about BioLife4D when thinking about Heart Month (February). BioLife4D is working to be able to 3D print a viable human heart that is suitable for transplant. How cool is that?
And they know how to do it too! It’s a very amazing process that involves taking an MRI to get precise information about that person’s heart. Then they take the patient’s blood to be able to create matching cells. With those 2 things, they can print a heart that is a precise match for the patient.
Watch This Video to See How BioLife Can 3D Print Hearts
I have never seen anything quite so amazing. While I do look to natural remedies first, I am so grateful for modern medicine in times when it can truly save lives. Modern medicine saved my life last year and I know it saves many lives every year.
If we can save lives by 3D printing organs, it will open so many new doors for so many people. I would love to see this technology be made available to the public.
If they are able to bring this technology to market, it will help eliminate the wait for donor organs, eliminate challenges of organ rejection and increase the life span of more patients.
I’m sure all of us have been touched by heart disease in some way. If the option were there for 3D printed hearts, it would allow more families to have more time with their loved ones and a greater chance at thriving with a heart condition.
Is that something you could get behind? If so, BioLife needs your help. All of their leading-edge research is funded by private equity. Right now, they are looking for investors like you who are passionate about their medical research.
If you’ve been looking for a worthy cause to back, this is definitely one to consider investing in. It could save your life or the life of a loved one in the future.
BioLife4d is having an equity crowdfunding campaign in February, where the general public (people like you and me) can purchase shares in the company be part of their mission to save millions of lives.
Teaching Kids to Care
Let’s bring this back to the kids. How can we use this opportunity to teach kids about caring? We took the challenge to get our kids involved in this conversation.
We headed down to the store and picked up a couple of get well cards. I told my girls that we’d be sending these cards to kids at Texas Children’s Hospital. Kids we don’t even know and will never know.
We talked a lot about how lucky we are to have our health, and how fortunate our kids are to be healthy, happy and thriving. Then we talked about how not all kids have what they have.
We decided to liven up the cards we bought a little bit with smiley face stickers and balloon confetti since we can’t send real balloons. They say that if you fake a smile for long enough, it will eventually become real. So why not add a little something special to help bring a smile, even if it’s brief, to these hospitalized children. If we can’t do it face-to-face, we’ll do it with a card.
Zoë and Kaylee were quickly able to relate because their 2-year old cousin suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury last year. They know first hand how a lively, active child can have their life changed overnight. And because we talk about it regularly, they are able to feel gratitude for what they have.
I know a lot of parents like to shelter their children from harsh realities. We prefer to regularly remind our children that the world isn’t all pretty and perfect. It’s broken and challenging and downright miserable for many people.
We can show these people our love and light, and hopefully that will inspire them to improve their circumstances. Or at the very least let them know that someone cares about them.
If you want to join me in that mission, sit your children down and talk to them about how illness, disease and injury, including heart disease, can affect people – even children. Then have them make a card or buy one and write in it.
We were challenged by Clark's Condensed to get our children involved. So now it's my turn to challenge you. Have your kids write cards to children with heart conditions (or any other reason they're spending time in the hospital).
Then send it off to this address – it could brighten a kid’s day:
Texas Children’s Hospital
ATTN: Volunteer Services
6621 Fannin Street, Suite A1125
Houston, TX 77030