LJ's Healing Hearts ... our mission and cause.
Our mission is to provide financial and well being support for families impacted by congenital heart defects.

What is the health impact of congenital heart defects?

  • CHDs are the most common cause of infant death due to birth defects.
  • Approximately 25% of children born with a CHD will need heart surgery or other interventions to survive.
  • Over 85% of babies born with a CHD now live to at least age 18. However, children born with more severe forms of CHDs are less likely to reach adulthood. 
  • Surgery is often not a cure for CHDs. Many individuals with CHDs require additional operation(s) and/or medications as adults.
  • People with CHDs face a life-long risk of health problems such as issues with growth and eating, developmental delays, difficulty with exercise, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest or stroke. 
  • People with CHDs are now living long enough to develop illnesses like the rest of the adult population, such as high blood pressure, obesity and acquired heart disease. 

Past Board Members
​Karyn Mardak - Founder - President

Kelli Mendonsa - Board Member

About CHD

What is a congenital heart defect?

  • Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth.
  • Common examples include holes in the inside walls of the heart and narrowed or leaky valves. In more severe forms of CHDs, blood vessels or heart chambers may be missing, poorly formed, and/or in the wrong place. 


How common are congenital heart defects? 

  • CHDs are the most common birth defects. CHDs occur in almost 1% of births. 
  • An approximate 100-200 deaths/year are due to unrecognized heart disease in newborns; this excludes those dying before diagnosis. 
  • Nearly 40,000 infants in the U.S. are born each year with CHDs.
  • CHDs are as common as autism and about 25 times more common than cystic fibrosis. 
  • Approximately 2 to 3 million individuals are living in the United States with CHDs. There is no U.S. system to track CHDs beyond early childhood, more precise estimates are not available.
  • Thanks to improvements in survival, the number of adults living with CHDs is increasing. It is now believed that the number of adults living with CHDs is at least equal to, if not greater than, the number of children living with CHDs. ​


Specific Congenital Heart Defects

~ Atrial Septal Defect  ~ Atrioventricular Septal Defect  ~ Coarctation of the Aorta  ~ Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome  ~  Pulmonary Atresia

~Tetralogy of Fallot  ~  Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return  ~  Tricuspid Atresia  ~  d-Transposition of the Great Arteries

~  Truncus Arteriosus  ~  Ventricular Septal Defect

Currrent Board Members

Erin Goes – Vice President

Betsy Shannon – Executive Director and Treasurer
Denise Rivero – Secretary
​Shelia Wood - Events Director

Lauren Backe - Volunteer Director

Kelly Rice - Bereavement Director