This week’s Mamapreneur is Ady Dorsett and this is her story:
“Sweet Hayden was born on March 12, 2012. His delivery was perfect, born 5 hours from the time I was admitted to the hospital. Right after he was born, he was placed in my arms and I finally got to lock eyes with this amazing little boy who I already loved more than I knew my heart could handle.
We spent the next few weeks at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) because he was born with a very rare birth defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (read more about HLHS here) and would need to have open-heart surgery before coming home. Life in the hospital was difficult—but learning more about Hayden was exciting, just as it is with any newborn. He had the most beautiful skin and eyes. He had little hair, so we kept him warm with knit hats in the chilly CICU (cardiac intensive care unit).
When Hayden was three weeks old, we went home for the first time—for only ten days. In those ten days, we enjoyed so much of just being together. Jackson, our older son, was so intrigued by Hayden, and Hayden was equally enthralled with Jackson. We went back to CHOP where we spent another month together. That’s when his personality began to blossom. Our love for each other grew immensely in that month.
His first smile happened in room 11 in the CICU—and it seemed he didn’t stop smiling until the day everything in our lives flipped upside down. That smile is still what I picture today. And those eyes. I’ve always said he spoke to me through his eyes. He was like an old soul smiling through them—even through his struggles—and they told how much he loved his life and who was in it with him.
We went home for a while the next time and that time will always be an incredible gift to our family. Even though every day we were busy running from specialist to therapist so that Hayden could be given the best chance at life, we spent all of our time together, and thoroughly enjoyed our time as a family. It all started to feel normal—bedtime stories together, morning cartoons, walks to the park—always together, enjoying the simple things life has to offer. We even made our first public family debut one morning at a diner, and that may have been the most normal I’d ever felt since having Hayden.
Hayden tragically passed away on August 16, 2012, but that is not the end of his story. We started Hayden’s Heart INC in his honor so that even though he is no longer physically here and in my arms, he will live on forever through our work. Hayden was 5 months and 4 days old when he died, and he touched more lives in that time than anyone I have ever known—more than everyone I know combined. He truly changed lives and made people stop and think about what life is all about and to enjoy it to the fullest.
Our mission with Hayden’s Heart is to raise CHD awareness and to keep Hayden’s Memory alive by helping families affected by CHD.
We achieve this goal by hosting numerous fundraisers each year in memory of Hayden. While planning each event, we choose a fellow heart family whose child is beating the odds against CHD but whose family could also benefit from financial help towards outstanding medical bills, travel expenses and just every day living. Unfortunately health insurance companies do not always cover all medical procedures, hospital stays, or medicines and equipment that need to be available for home care. In addition to those expenses, several families must travel far distances to ensure their child is receiving care from the absolute best hospitals, giving their warrior the best fighting chance. Because of this, we have decided to make it our mission to support these families both financially and emotionally.
We also send out numerous care packages to heart families inpatient three times a year and send ‘Grieving Hearts’ care packages to heart angel families when their warrior joins Hayden in heaven.
Last year, we launched ‘Healing of the Heart’- a retreat for heart angel mamas where 25 grieving mothers can come together to connect and heal in ways only grieving mothers can understand.
Last year Hayden’s Heart hosted their first ‘Healing of the Heart’ retreat. 24 angel mamas gathered, most meeting for the first time. It was an instant bond and connection words can’t begin to describe. Those mothers still talk daily and have small reunions finding ways to stay in touch- an unbreakable bond was formed that weekend between them and the relationships are deeper than everyone in attendance expected to develop.
Our goal this year is to create the same peaceful space for heart angel mamas by offering healing techniques, group discussions and activities, personal reflections and other methods to assist in the healing process.
If you would like to help us this year, please see our funding page at https://www.youcaring.com/hayden-s-heart-491336
We will also be creating care bags for each of the mothers to have upon their arrival to the retreat. If you are interested in donating items to the care bags, please contact Ady Dorsett at Ady.Dorsett@haydensheart.org or Ashley Halligan at Ashley.Halligan@haydensheart.org
For more information on our events and other ways we help heart families, please visit our website www.haydensheart.org.”
Mamas helping Mamas. It’s the heart of our mission. Please give what you can.