To provide comfort and guidance to children, families and caregivers in their struggle from onset of pre-birth diagnosis, birth, hospital stay and home care throughout their life journey as they face the challenges of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)
Brave little Hearts empowers CHD kids and their family by letting them know they are not travelling this journey alone. We have taken this approach because we know first hand it is very personal journey. Brave little Hearts for Michael and Friends knows this is a matter of the heart. The relationship we have built with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia CICU will be replicated to other hospitals that serve CHD families. Funding is needed for projects and programs to support the children and families impacted by Congenital Heart Disease. Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect in America, on average affecting 40,000 births per year. About 25% of these babies are born with a Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) where the heart defect will require multiple surgeries within the first year of life.
The World of CHD
A 501c(3) Nonprofit Organization
Committed to Helping Children with Congenital Heart Disease
"God Uses Rescued People to Rescue People"
Brave little Hearts for Michael and Friends
P O BOX 610
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Brave little Hearts for Michael and Friends was born through the journey of a mother with a child born with a heart defect. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, HLHS. The left side of the heart was underdeveloped. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. Treatments and medications help manage the symptoms. Michael HLHS was Critical therefore the CICU was his home the first year of his life.
The CHD journey is a hardship on the entire family. As a mother, she was determined to provide the best opportunity regardless of his prognosis. Therefore, she resigned from her career and found ways to gain knowledge and understanding on how to be the best advocate for Michael. Michael’s father who traveled weekly cross state lines to work. The care for Michael ment one income.
Yes, they were fortunate to have family support but they too had a huge learning curve when it came to Michael’s care. Through hard work and sacrifice they found a way. Being a giving family, they also wanted to help other families reach their fullest potential.
In our storm we want to shine our light bright, so others can see their way too. Michael's story inspired the birth of Brave little Hearts for Michael and Friends. Which is now growing and looking for more volunteers and sponsors.
“You don’t travel the CHD road alone. Our heart’s beat stronger, when we help each other.”
~ Michael’s Family
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
Michael's home away from home during his first 11 months of life.
First Day Home
A beautiful rainbow appears as the EMT staff prepare to take Michael into his own bedroom for the very first time.
Brave little Hearts for Michael and Friends, Charter Member
Michael Richard C. Winchester
Michael’s Story began from the humbling journey of parents with a child born with a life-threatening heart defect. Michael spent his first year of life in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit supported by tubes, monitoring equipment, and medical staff. This unfamiliar situation found the family overshadowed with fearful thoughts that included would he live, would he ever come home. The power of prayer and hope prevailed.
When Michael came home, they continued to hope, fight, and plan for him to live as they to learned on-the-job coping mechanisms for Michael’s day-to-day needs. Unfortunately, Michael’s heart could not handle the stress of his last open heart surgery and he passed on March 6, 2017 just a couple weeks’ shy of his 3rd birthday.
Michael was a happy baby and brightened the day of everyone he touched. Please help us continue Michael’s legacy of fighting against the odds and brightening the day of those children and families that feel like they are hopeless.
In Memory of Michael Richard Croix Winchester, the Pennsylvania State Legislature declared
March 6, 2018 Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Day
to promote awareness of this often fatal heart defect.
As the charter member, for Brave little Hearts for Michael and Friends we will forever remember his tenacity and the tough fight he fought daily. Brave little Hearts will always fight for the life of a CHD children.
Michael was not alone and no CHD child should be alone or feel alone. The love that was poured into him was a testimony that love can heal the heart. Michael's family told the top physicians in the nation that they will "love him well". Michael was not expected to leave the hospital but not only did he leave the hospital traveled quite a bit up and down the east coast during short but very full 3 years of life his family. The family motto was "If we go he goes" and go Michael did!
We are not all granted a long life but it's what we do with it. The time we share together is the journey, the self-determination to keep going even when the pain seems unbearable. Michael was a true heart warrior. He smiled and never stopped learning, ( He never stopped teaching). Event through this organization he is helping others, " Life After Death" the legacy to bring awareness and raise funds for CHD Programing.