Carolina Panthers tight end, Greg Olsen, knows how difficult it is to gain a yard in the National Football League. A first-round draft pick in 2007, Olsen has been battling some of the toughest defensive football players in the world. And, although each week may feel like a war on the football field, his battles on the gridiron are nothing compared to the battle one of his sons, T.J., is facing – living with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).
T.J. Olsen underwent the first of three surgeries at Levine Children’s Hospital only days after he was born. After going home from the hospital, the Olsen family soon discovered the need, as well as the benefit, of having in-home nursing care for their fragile son.
Greg and his wife Kara joined with Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC, to form The HEARTest Yard initiative, which provides families of babies affected by congenital heart disease with a variety of healthcare services, including in-home, private nursing care, physical therapy and speech therapy.
The goal of The HEARTest Yard initiative is to help families as they adjust to this new life of having a child with a congenital heart defect. Through the fund, parents may deduct money from a predetermined medical benefit. The program does not charge families to use the benefit, and the hospital has no additional expense either.
You are not alone in dealing with your new baby’s diagnosis. If you’d like to learn more about the The HEARTest Yard program, contact Kari Crawford, nurse practitioner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-381-3949.