Irvine MOMS club fundraiser for "Teddy Bear Project"
for children having heart surgery
California Heart Connection
A support and information network for those with congenital heart defects

For immediate release  July 29, 2006
Contact:  Debbie Hilton-Kamm, President, California Heart Connection
Phone:  949-653-6421

Tuesday August 8th, 5pm to 8pm
Souplantation, 2825 Main Street, Irvine
Show flyer and 15% of the bill goes to charity
(Download the flyer  or call 949-653-6421)

When Nicole Smith, the Administrative V.P. for the Woodbridge chapter of the Irvine MOMS Club had the opportunity to select charities to help, she immediately thought of California Heart Connection, a nonprofit support network for those born with heart defects.  Two and a half years ago, Smith's daughter was diagnosed shortly after birth with two holes in her heart called Ventricular Septal Defects. 

"I was terrified and had never heard of this, so I immediately went online and found California Heart Connection.  It was so informative and helped me realize that there were other families out there dealing with this and even more serious life-threatening heart defects.  It was a huge relief to know that California Heart Connection provided so much information and support," said Smith.

California Heart Connection matches families in similar situations, provides an online support group, holds events, and offers much-needed information on resources on their website including downloadable handouts and forms for physicians and patients.  The organization also provides Teddy Bears to local children's hospitals for children undergoing heart surgery.  The bears don T-shirts with contact information for the support network.

"The Teddy Bears are a reminder to those children and their parents that there are people thinking about them, and that they are not alone," says Debbie Hilton Kamm, president of California Heart Connection.  As the mother of a 6-year-old who was born with "half a heart" she knows all too well how alone it can feel.

"When my son, Braedon, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, there just weren't any support groups in the area," said Kamm.  So she co-founded California Heart Connection with another Irvine mother of a child with a heart defect, Karin Yospe.  Based in Irvine, it is the only support network of its kind in  the state. 

Kamm's son underwent three open-heart surgeries before the age of two to reroute his heart, allowing it to work with only two of its four chambers.  He is now a typical, energetic boy excited to start Kindergarten in the fall.

Smith's daughter never required surgery, but Smith never forgot how comforting it was to know that California Heart Connection was there.  "I just felt it was time for me to give back," said Smith.

The MOMS club is a nonprofit organization which raises money for two charities each year.  In addition to CA Heart Connection, money raised will also go to the Mother-to-Mother fund which helps mothers in need, such as those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

For more information on the fundraiser, and to download the event flyer, see or call 949-653-6421.

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Copyright 2006 California Heart Connection