Ad Spot

Keepers advocates CHD Awareness Week

Erin Keepers, born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), now is 16 years old. She is promoting a petition to recognize Feb. 7-14 as CHD Awareness Week. CONTRIBUTED
Erin Keepers, born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), now is 16 years old. She is promoting a petition to recognize Feb. 7-14 as CHD Awareness Week. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Sixteen-year-old Erin Keepers has a favorite quote … “Half a heart — twice the fight.”

Endorsing that quote requires extra courage for Erin. She was born with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

“This basically means Erin was born with half a heart,” her mother Cynthia Keepers said. “CHDs are the no. 1 birth defect that causes death in infants.”

In fact, CHDs kill more than twice as many children annually than all forms of childhood cancer combined. “Yet, childhood cancer research earns five times the amount of money of CHD research,” Cynthia said.

Erin hopes to change these statistics with a petition to nationally recognize Feb. 7-14 as CHD Awareness Week. To sign the petition, visit petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/nationally-recognize-february-7-14-congenital-heart-defect-awareness-week-2.

Feb. 11 is the deadline for petition signing. Hopeful Hearts Foundation created the petition.

“Erin lives a normal life,” Cynthia said. She receives care from a pediatrician and cardiologist. “Some days are harder than others for exercise.”

Erin is a sophomore at James Clemens High School. She dances competitively with The Dance Company in Madison and writes online about her dance successes to encourage other CHD patients.

Kirk and Cynthia Keepers knew that Erin had this CHD before she was born. After she was born in Wilmington, Del., Erin required her first surgery at two days old at the DuPont Institute.

“We were pretty lucky,” Cynthia said. Without prenatal diagnosis, many babies die within the first 48 hours.

Erin recovered well from five surgeries but developed a serious staph infection after the third operation. “Doctors kept her in the hospital a long time,” Cynthia said.

A retired Army officer, Kirk Keepers works for AMCOM at Redstone Arsenal. The Keepers’ son Ryan, 13, attends Liberty Middle School and plays football and wrestles. He has no health problems.

Last October, Erin received her Make-A-Wish request. She visited for one day in Atlanta with Chloe Grace Moretz, star of the movie “The Fifth Wave.”

Hopeful Hearts Foundation supports individuals with any type of heart defect.

Madison

Donaldson represents Alabama on national career/tech council

Madison

Madison orchestra gives ‘A Musical Trick or Treat’ (mainly treats)

Madison

Players gain skills in Fall Scholars Chess Tournament

Madison

Check out the October 2022 Madison Living Magazine

Harvest

World War II veteran Major Wooten, 105, loved country and his family

Madison

Madison Street Festival celebrates 40th anniversary in big way

Madison

Have a fun scare at library’s Mad Movie-A-Thon-O-Rama!

Madison

Space Week takes Horizon students on aerospace, tech discoveries

Madison

City urges caution as paving progresses on Hughes Road

Bob Jones High School

Madison City Chess League forms new group for adults

Madison

Madison City Schools named best Alabama school district

Madison

Mercy Wolverton impressively masters hi-tech study, business

Madison

At Madison Street Festival, veterans to show fighter helicopter from Vietnam War

Madison

Local marching bands to be featured at “March on Madison” tonight

Madison

MSF’s Community Showcase promises array of talent

Madison

Brooms, mops in Lions Club sale to raise funds for vision projects

Harvest

Local musicians to jam at Madison Street Festival

Madison

Trash Pandas fall 4-2, Tennessee evens series

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Athletic Hall Of Fame Accepting Nominations

Harvest

Railyard BBQ Brawl and Music Festival returns Oct. 29

Bob Jones High School

Tommy Overcash appointed to Madison Board of Education

Madison

Children vulnerable for troubled mental health, Cook says

Madison

Fast start leads Trash Pandas to 9-5 in playoff game 1 win

Harvest

Updating state’s 1901 Constitution on November ballot

x