Website offers support for parents of kids with heart defects - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Website offers support for parents of kids with heart defects

Watching Jonathan Broussard and sister Finley play, you'd never know Jonathan was born with a life-threatening heart defect.

It showed up on an ultrasound while he was still in the womb. That was a traumatic day for his parents. Mom Rikki was mortified.

"I remember just breaking down and crying in the maternal fetal room," she recalled.

At three months old, Jonathan underwent a nearly 10-hour operation to fix a problem called "blue baby syndrome."

It's an umbrella term for defects that keep the heart from pumping enough oxygenated blood, and that can turn the body blue.

Looking back at pictures taken during his son's 13 days at Children's Hospital of Boston, dad Jared recalls just how trying the time was.

"When you go through something like this, it's a very scary, overwhelming experience," he said.

Like many parents of kids with born with heart defects, Jared Broussard went to the internet to learn more about Jonathan's heart condition.

From a medical standpoint, there was tons of information from the hospitals. But it was very hard to find any resource to connect families.

That's when Broussard decided to create a website, Heartwaves.org.

"What I wanted Heartwaves to be is the hub for congenital heart defects. So if you want information on a certain condition, you can get it. But at the same time, if you want to connect with other families that were going through similar circumstances, you could also find it there," said Broussard.

Parents who go to Heartwaves can express themselves freely. They'll also find insights on rare congenital heart defects from pediatric heart specialists and researchers. But most importantly, they'll discover they're not alone.

Today, Jonathan is proof congenital heart defects are not a death sentence.  For him, they were just a bumpy start to what promises to be a long and healthy life.

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