CHD affects millions


While many may know that February is Heart Month, did you know that many people in the United States also commemorate Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Awareness Week from Feb. 7-14?

Feb. 14 is not just Valentine’s Day — it’s also CHD Awareness Day. For the more than 2.5 million Americans who were born with a congenital heart defect, this day and week are a crucial time to spread awareness about the importance of CHD care throughout the entire lifespan.

As a parent of a son navigating adulthood with CHD in New Mexico and as a doctor who specializes in treating adults with CHD, we want everyone to know that heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting about one in 100 births. Many defects are life-threatening and require surgical or catheter interventions at birth, in childhood and as adults. As most children receive CHD treatment and live to adulthood, this has led to a growing population of adults with heart defects. These adults need ongoing specialized cardiac care.

While this is great news, the sobering fact is that despite the recent increase in the number of adult CHD clinics in the United States, only a fraction of patients are seen in these specialized centers — less than 10 percent of the nearly two million adults with CHD. The frequency of heart defects is under-appreciated, and there is even less understanding of the importance of appropriate specialized cardiac care for adult survivors with CHD.

The Adult Congenital Heart Association is a nonprofit whose mission is to empower the CHD community by advancing access to resources and specialized care that improve patient-centered outcomes. This month, join us and ACHA in spreading awareness about adults living with CHD and the specialized treatment they need to live a full life.

Every baby born with a heart defect should have the opportunity to thrive throughout their lifespan, not just to age 18. Help us reach our vision that every adult with CHD receives specialized cardiac care.

Dubra Karnes-Padilla

ACHA Patient and Family Advisory Board member


Arwa Saidi, MB, BCh, MEd, FACC

Board certified ACHD cardiologist and ACHA Medical Advisory Board chairman

Gainesville, Fla


Masks save lives


Response to Mr. Garcia’s letter published on Jan. 13.

To drink or not to drink, save someone’s life.

To wear a seat belt or not wear a seat belt, save somebody’s life.

To wear a mask or not wearing masks, choose to save somebody’s life.

What freedoms have you lost to keep people from dying?

Dorothy Trujillo

Rio Communities


Making a difference


This letter is in response to Maggy Fitzgerald’s letter, week of Jan. 13, where she pointed out that Belen’s former mayor, Jerah Cordova and Megan Malcom Morgan lavished attention on Becker Avenue to drive customers to their own businesses.

Five years ago, I moved here from out of state, and knew absolutely no one in New Mexico. Somehow, Danny Bernal Jr.’s campaign for city council came into my Facebook feed. I was instantly intrigued and delighted by this young man’s passion for his small home town.

From following Danny, I became Facebook friends with Logan Jeffers, who was welcoming and inclusive and, in turn, connected me with Megan and Jerah.

The first thing I wish to say about this group of young adults is they are all very well educated, articulate, competent and personable. They could flourish in any glamorous, exciting city in the world. Yet, they choose to stay in Belen, New Mexico, population 7,400, and make a difference. As I see it, Belen is very fortunate to have this positive energy.

Although I live in Los Lunas, due to Megan’s enthusiastic referrals, I drive down to Belen when I need a veterinarian, attorney or dentist. The mouth-watering food pictures that Jerah regularly posts, promoting every single restaurant in Belen, entice me to drive 12 miles south when I’m in the mood to enjoy a meal or drink out of the house.

The author of the letter also stated that The GRID Gallery features work of Megan’s friends. That is true! They are talented and their work is appreciated! However, if Maggy were to actually have shopped at The GRID, she would also see the work of young pre teen and teen artists who came to Megan excitedly with their creations. She encouraged these young people and gave them a place to showcase and sell their work, which will forever leave an impression that their efforts are valued.

Lastly, if Maggy feels so strongly that “other parts of Belen, and other locally-owned businesses, would appreciate a concentrated effort,” she could jump in and do it!

And one last thing, to make an issue over Danny Bernal Jr. wearing a Judy Chicago T-shirt to a meeting is just plain petty.

Carol Young

Los Lunas

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