Feb.7-14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

Milton Mayor Ed Nelson has signed a proclamation declaring Feb.7-14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Nelson was inspired to sign the proclamation by the Moyer family, of Milton. Two-year-old Mason Moyer has had tetrology of fallot, a congenital heart defect, since birth. Seated are twins McKenna and Mason Moyer. Standing, from left, are Rob Moyer, Nelson and Stephanie Moyer. Photo by Kevin Mertz/Standard Journal.

MILTON — Stephanie and Rob Moyer have lost count of the number of surgeries their 2-year-old son Mason has gone through in his short life.

“Mason was born with tetrology of fallot,” Stephanie said, noting that the condition is a congenital heart defect.

He first had surgery Feb. 7, 2013, when he was just over 2-months old.

In recognition of Mason’s condition, and in conjunction with a national observation, Milton Mayor Ed Nelson has signed a proclamation declaring Feb. 7-14 as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week in Milton.

“It’s important to get the word out that we have a child going through this,” Nelson said. “There has to be other people in the area going through this.”

With tetrology of fallot, Stephanie said her son’s heart had four abnormalities at birth, including a hole in his left ventricle, a right ventricle abnormality, an overriding aorta and no pulmonary valves.

While surgeries have corrected some of the issues, Mason still faces more operations.

“Mason still doesn’t have a pulmonary valve,” Stephanie said. “We still need surgery for that.”

In March, he will be having surgery to correct a problem with his eye.

Following one of Mason’s surgeries, Stephanie said her son “coded,” resulting in a brain injury.

“He has left-sided (cerebral palsy),” Stephanie said.

The Moyers travel to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia one time per month, where Mason undergoes several days of medical appointments.

To help offset the costs associated with traveling to the appointments, the family has T-shirts for sale in honor of Mason. The shirts range in price from $15 to $18 and can be purchased through the family.

In July, he will be honored at the Hayden’s Heart golf tournament, to be held at Wynding Brook Golf Club. Some of the proceeds from that event will be donated to the Moyer family, Stephanie said.

“Hayden’s Heart is a wonderful organization that makes goodie bags for children in the hospital,” Stephanie said.

The Moyer family also focuses on giving back to those in need. On Feb. 14, they will be serving a meal, featuring soup and bread sticks, to families currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Danville.

Stephanie said she is collecting donations of items to prepare the meal from friends.

“I do this two or three times a year,” she said. “I like to give back to the Ronald McDonald House. I take my kids with me. I want them to know what giving back is about.”

Stephanie also serves as a parent-to-parent advocate, speaking with parents from across the country with conditions similar to Mason’s.

“I’m a mentor for other people going through this,” Stephanie said. “I get calls from as far as California, Texas.”

Nelson said he was proud to sign the proclamation marking as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.

“I’m willing to do this for any cause or issue that needs to be brought to attention,” he said.

The proclamation reads:

Whereas: The health and well-being of our children is of paramount importance; and

Whereas: Each year in the United States, approximately 40,000 babies are born with a congenital heart defect; and

Whereas: One out of 110 babies are born with a congenital heart defect; and

Whereas: About 600,000 people die of heart disease each year, accounting for one-in-four deaths; and

Whereas: The Congenital Heart Information Network works with families to provide information and resources for families of children with heart defects.

Now, therefore, I Edward E. Nelson, mayor of Milton, Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim Feb. 7 through 14 as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week in the Borough of Milton and surrounding communities to join in the opportunity to show our friends, families and loved ones who are battling this illness that we share a common concern, so that we may be aware of how this defect affects all of our lives.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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