Walking through a Storm: Heart Warriors Unite!

walkI’ve checked Sunday’s forecast in Pittsburgh so much I may have broken the Accuweather website. This week I’ve monitored the chance-of-rain percentage more often than I’ve fed my children and cursed at the icons that turned from tiny suns into black clouds.

As the co-chair for the fourth year of Pittsburgh’s Congenital Heart Walk, I’m anxious as we are just days away from walking for congenital heart defects to benefit the Children’s Heart Foundation and the Adult Congenital Heart Association. All the details are falling into place and the fundraising dollars are pouring in as the number of registered walkers climbs. All signs point to a successful event yet that one thing remains out of my control.

The weather.

Mother Nature has been wreaking havoc with storms and wacky bursts of torrential rain. Suffocating humidity and dangerous lightning are daily events. And her moodiness may continue on Sunday.

I grew sad thinking of nasty weather ruining the fun for the families gathering to celebrate their heart warriors. But then I realized something.

We’ve already survived the worst of storms. We’ve witnessed dark clouds, heard thunder roar and dashed through lightning strikes more vicious than what Mother Nature could deliver. We’ve waded through flood waters. We’ve experienced days we thought we’d suffocate and drown.

We’ve all faced a congenital heart defect.

We’ve handed children off to heart surgeons. Been unsure of the future. Planned a child’s funeral. CHD survivors wait on heart transplant lists or anticipate their next open heart surgery or pacemaker replacement. What could Mother Nature hand out that we haven’t already seen?

Not. One. Thing.

On Sunday, we’ll revel in the hope of a future without CHD. We’ll celebrate the survivors and remember the angels while children in twisted balloon hats blow bubbles and dance to upbeat music. We’ll laugh with soggy shoes and limp hair under ponchos covering our team t-shirts. We’ll walk together through any storm. Because that’s what we do.

And maybe God’s hand will push the clouds to the side over North Park and the sun will blanket us with comforting warmth. Our CHD angels will smile down on us. And just maybe we’re supposed to endure a quick storm so we can see a brilliant rainbow. Together.

So, bring it, Mother Nature! Give us all you’ve got. You can’t stop us. We’re the heart community.

www.congenitalheartwalk.org

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