The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Community

July 8, 2014

Heart Walk site, child, chairman, date announced

MERCER, LAWRENCE COUNTIES — Mercer/Lawrence Counties Heart Walk will be held Sept. 27 on the campus of Westminster College, New Wilmington, and the American Heart Association has tabbed James Buttermore as chairman of the event.

Also, Emmie Grace Biro, who was born with two congenital heart defects, is this year’s Heart Walk Child.

Buttermore has been director of the New Castle School of Trades for nine years. He coordinates classes for 600 students and 90 teachers.

“Seeing friends that are heart or stroke survivors and beneficiaries of donations to heart and stroke research is why I believe in the work of the AHA and why I decided to chair this year’s Heart Walk,” Buttermore said.

Buttermore will be tasked with rallying company leaders, team captains and Heart Walk volunteers to help raise money for heart and stroke research vital to the mission of the AHA.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the world. More than 2,100 people in this country die each day from cardiovascular diseases, about one person every 40 seconds.  In fact, about 83.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.

The American Heart Association’s “My Heart. My Life.” comprehensive health, wellness and fitness program was developed to combat these statistics and empower people to get healthier. The annual Heart Walk is the cornerstone of the program.

At her 20-week ultrasound, Emmie’s doctor noticed she was not growing at the normal rate. He referred her parents, Scott and Jamie, to Magee Womens Hospital Care Center in Pittsburgh for another ultra sound, and Emmie was diagnosed.

In most children, the cause of her condition is unknown, but it’s a very common type of heart defect. In a child, blood can travel across the hole from the left pumping chamber to the right pumping chamber and out into the lung arteries; the extra blood being pumped makes the heart and lungs work harder and the lungs can become congested.

The doctors monitored Emmie’s condition throughout the pregnancy and decided to induce labor at 37 weeks because she was showing signs of heart distress. On March 12, 2012, Emmie Grace was born, weighing four pounds, three ounces, at Magee.

An echocardiogram was performed and doctors identified the defect. The cardiology team noticed that Emmie was tiring very quickly when trying to eat and was not gaining the proper weight because of her condition. After several weeks at Magee, it was decided to send her to Children’s Hospital where a pulmonary artery banding was performed. The goal of PAB is to reduce pulmonary artery pressure and excess pulmonary blood flow. PAB involves the insertion of a band around the pulmonary artery to reduce the blood flow into the lungs.

The procedure on April 17 was a success and Emmie began to gain weight. On Aug. 25, she was healthy enough to have her second surgery to close the holes in her heart.

Emmie is now a very healthy, active little girl. She enjoys looking at books, going to the park and chasing her puppy Meadow around the house. Emmie will continue to have regular echocardiograms and chest x-rays to monitor the function of her heart. The Biros thank all who show their generosity to the AHA to help further advance research and technology.

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