Every year I get very excited to see what I might find at my local ALDI store. That's right! It is time for the ALDI Summer Seasonal Catalog I have mentioned several times that...
Building Hearts to Save Lives with BIOLIFE4D
This post is sponsored by BIOLIFE4D. I have received compensation for writing the words, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Building Hearts to Save Lives with BIOLIFE4D
Heart disease. It's something that will likely touch every single one of us in some way during our lifetime. Be it dealing with your own struggles with the disease or a loved ones, the chances are at some point you will become personally acquainted with this life changing affliction. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. It is the cause of one in three deaths for women, and one in four for men. Pretty sobering statistics. Building Hearts to Save Lives with BIOLIFE4D.
But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if we could save more of theses people? That is where BIOLIFE4D comes in; they want to 3D print a viable human heart that is suitable for transplant, with no chance of the body rejecting the new heart. Now that may sound like science fiction, but it's not. It's real, and the technology is further along than you may think. We were tagged by Michele at midlifehealthyliving.com to complete this challenge to share some really amazing information with you.
This research hits close to home for my family. My youngest daughter Laurel was born with a heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, and she underwent open heart surgery at the age of 4 months. To this day, she still has no aortic valve. It was removed during her surgery and will likely have to be replaced in the future, meaning she faces at least one more open heart surgery during her lifetime.
My little girls open heart surgery was personally the most stressful period of my life. Watching you child struggle with something that you can't fix or make right is devastating. Nothing is in your control, and you are dependent on the talent of a stranger to help your child.
But as difficult at that experience was, we were lucky. My little girl came out of the surgery alive and kicking, and she didn't need a full transplant. Now that last point is important. There are simply not enough hearts for everyone that needs a transplant. As an example, in 2015 there were 125,000 people in the United States that were waiting for organ transplant, but only 13,ooo donors. And last year, 98% of the people on the heart transplant waiting list did NOT receive a new heart. It is the goal of BIOLIFE4D to change those statistics. Now we are Building Hearts to Save Lives with BIOLIFE4D .
In real life, it is simply not possible to always successfully repair the human heart. There are patients right now waiting for donor hearts or valves. Some of those patients will receive what they need in time, but others sadly will not. Now sometimes we can use things like animal valves to buy time, but really that is a solution that is not long term. The bottom line is this; the only real long term solution for patients needing a transplant is the human heart itself.
BIOLIFE4D's solution to this problem is 3D printing. They are developing the technology to actually print a human heart using the patient‘s own cells. This would mean an end to donor wait lists and organ rejection. And the best part is this isn't science fiction. It's real, and it is being developed right now. Bioprinted organs are becoming a reality. Check out the video below as it does a much better job than I of explaining exactly how this all works.
The BIOLIFE4D research is funded through private equity, and they are always looking for investors (both big and small) that are passionate about this life changing medical research. If that sounds like something that you may be interested in, click the link here. Biolife4d is launching an equity crowdfunding campaign soon so that the general public and invest and join their mission to save millions of lives
The Act of Heart Challenge
BIOLIFE4D recently sent me a short letter that told the story of Jack. Now like my daughter, Jack was born with a very rare condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He underwent his first surgery at the age of 10 days, and at age 11 he underwent full heart transplant. Now today Jack is a healthy, normal 16 year old boy that happens to be an advocate for the medical technologies that will better the lives of those with challenges like his.
As I mentioned when talking about my own experience with heart disease, the whole process of open heart surgery is incredibly stressful. So as a way to give back just a little and maybe help someone who could use a little happiness, my family is taking part in the Act of Heart Challenge.
The idea is simple. Write a short note to a stranger in the hospital that is going through the difficult ordeal of heart surgery. My children are all involved, each making a card to hopefully bring a little sunshine to someone’s day. I think it's a great idea, and I know that we would have loved to received a note of encouragement during my daughters ordeal. Participation costs nothing more than a few minutes of time and the cost of a stamp, and it has the potential to lift someone’s spirit when they need it the most. We hope that you enjoyed this Building Hearts to Save Lives with BIOLIFE4D post.
Letters can be mailed to:
Texas Children’s Hospital
ATTN: Volunteer Services
6621 Fannin Street, Suite A1125
Houston, TX 77030