Welcome to the Circle of Hearts Family Support Network

Finding out your child has congenital or acquired heart disease is extremely stressful. A new diagnosis brings many questions and feelings of uncertainty. You are not alone. The Circle of Hearts Family Support Network is a non-profit children's charity made up of parents and caregivers who have children with congenital or acquired heart defects. The Circle of Hearts represents all pediatric heart patients and families of the Variety Children's Heart Centre, who span over Manitoba, Nunavut, parts of NW Ontario and Eastern Saskatchewan.

We believe that it is of great benefit to communicate with families who have gone through similar situations. It can help prepare your family for some of the situations and feelings all of you experience. We aim to provide emotional and educational support to those who are in need, as well as a means of networking among families whose children are affected by heart disease.

Along with providing such support to our families, the Circle of Hearts also provides fun family activities throughout the year to show our heart children that there is more to the Variety Children's Heart Centre than being a cardiac patient.

What is a congenital heart defect?

A congenital heart defect (CHD) is an anomaly of the heart that is present at birth, involving one or more portions of the heart to develop abnormally. There are many different types of congenital heart defects, and they range from simple defects such as a tiny hole that will never require treatment, to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms that affect how blood and nutrients are pumped throughout the body. Some babies may be diagnosed before or at birth; some not until days, weeks, months, or even years later. Undiagnosed CHDs and childhood onset heart disease cause many cases of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Congenital heart defects are the world's most common type of birth defect; about one in every 100 babies are affected, representing 1% of births (Health Canada, 2002). In Canada, there are almost 100,000 adults who, as children, had surgery to correct congenital heart defects (Marelli et al, 2006). Over the past few decades, diagnosis and treatment of heart defects has improved significantly. With modern treatment, more than 90% of children survive well into adulthood.


Promotional Products

Push-action Ballpoint Pen (blue ink) — $2.00 each or 12 for $20 (no taxes charged)

Red and black body, with the Circle of Hearts logo in white.

Large Drawstring Knapsack — $7.00 each (no taxes charged)

17”w. x 20”h. in red with the Circle of Hearts logo in white.

16-ounce Travel Mug — $15.00 each (no taxes charged)

Double-walled stainless steel with safety lid and slide-action opening. White band with a red/blue Circle of Hearts logo.

(Click the image for full-size previews.)

To place an order, please contact Gil Meilleur at gilncarm@mymts.net or Joni Wilson at circleofhearts@hotmail.com. Stock is limited and will be sold on a first come/first served basis. Payment can be made by cash or cheque.

Upcoming Events

Monthly Support Meetings
2nd Thursdays of the month, 7:00 ~ 9:00PM
Ronald McDonald Family Room, CE-308, Children's Hospital

The Circle of Hearts has joined forces with the Variety Children's Heart Centre and The Ronald McDonald Children's Charity to now offer monthly Family Support Meetings in the Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Winnipeg Children's Hospital, with the plan to also have guest speakers come out to discuss various topics that effect our cardiac kids and their families/caregivers.

Support Meetings will be held on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 7:00-9:00pm at the Ronald McDonald Family Room, CE-308, Children's Hospital.

Refreshments will be served and all heart/VCHC families are welcome to attend. No pre-registration required.

Please feel free and welcomed to come join us, whether you or your heart child are in need of some support, would like to share your medical journey, in need of resources, or can provide guidance to others.

Past Events

Bud Spud and Steak Fundraiser
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 from 5:00 ~ 8:00PM
Cowboys Nightclub, Windsor Park Canad Inns, 1034 Elizabeth Road

On Saturday, February 6th, from 5:00-8:00pm, the Circle of Hearts will be hosting a Bud, Spud and Steak fundraiser at Cowboys Nightclub, Windsor Park CanadInn, and also in celebration of Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Day/Week.

Children/youth are welcome again this year, as it is such a pleasure to have our heart heroes attend! No charge for children under 2 years old.

Event Tickets are $20 each.

There will be a Silent Auction, 50/50 Draw, Door Prize, and amazing Grand Prizes, which includes a "Trip for 2 Anywhere WestJet Flies" and a Via Rail trip voucher!!

We would greatly appreciate any donations towards the silent auction, should you or anyone you know be able to contribute. Please contact us for drop off/pick up information or for an official donation request letter.

If you cannot attend, support tickets are available for $10 each, or you can donate online through PayPal.

It is our only planned fundraiser for the year so please come out and help support us!

Breakfast With Santa 2015
Sunday, December 13, 2015 from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM
Clarion Hotel

Good day COH Members!

The Circle of Hearts Family Support Network is pleased to invite you all to our upcoming Breakfast with Santa, being held on Sunday, December 13th, from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon, at the Clarion Hotel. Please see attached poster for more details.

There will be live musical entertainment, a children's craft station, a Christmas themed backdrop set up where families can have their photo taken by a professional photographer, and of course SANTA CLAUS!

We will again be collecting monetary donations as well as non-perishable food items towards our COH Christmas Hamper. This year we are trying something different, as we will be using the funds raised and food donations to put towards providing a holiday dinner and gifts for heart children and their families who are unfortunately staying in-hospital during Christmas. This will be provided through the Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Winnipeg Children's Hospital.

Please RSVP by email, phone or on our Facebook page by December 1st, including the number of adults and children attending, as well as the names, ages and gender of all children, and noting who is the “heart” child.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there!

The Circle of Hearts Board

Summer Picnic
Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 1:30 - 3:30 PM
St. Vital Park Picnic Shelter

Please come and join us for food, friends and fun!

Bouncy slide, food, drinks, candy scramble...

Please RSVP by August 22nd with your family name and number of people attending to circleofhearts@hotmail.com or 204-231-0797, and please leave a detailed message.

-Sponsored by the Burns Family Foundation and the Winnipeg Foundation-

Circle of Hearts Family Camp 2015
July 17 - 19, 2015 at Variety's Camp Brereton

The Circle of Hearts Family Support Network is pleased to offer its 12th annual Family Heart Camp, open to all VCHC families!

When: Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July 19
Where: Variety Camp at Lake Brereton, in the Whiteshell Provincial Park
Cost: Free for Heart Child and siblings 5 years and under; $50 for other persons

RSVP: To request registration package, email circleofhearts@hotmail.com or contact Joni Wilson at 204-688-0418.

Registration forms must be returned NO LATER than June 30th!

Family Camp includes...

  • 7 newly-renovated shared group cabins (69 spaces total)
  • All meals & snacks provided
  • Camp is wheelchair-accessible & vision-impaired friendly
  • Common washrooms & showers
  • Large common dining hall & family room (Main Lodge)
  • Canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, & lifejackets available
  • Private beach area
  • Fishing area
  • All-ages crafts & activities offered
  • Basic First Aid accessible

Heart Heroes Youth Camp 2015
July 20 - 24, 2015 at Variety's Camp Brereton

The Circle of Hearts Family Support Network is pleased to offer a five day Youth Camp! Open to all 10-18 year-old Variety Heart Centre patients.

When: Monday, July 20 to Friday, July 24
Where: Variety Camp at Lake Brereton, in the Whiteshell Provincial Park
Cost: Free for Heart Hero; $50 for one friend or sibling accompanying them

RSVP: To request registration package, please email Cheryl Janz at cheryl@envisioncl.com or leave a message at 204-231-0797.

Registration forms must be returned NO LATER than June 30th! No refunds nor registrations after this date will be accepted.

Newly-renovated cabins! Nancy, our activities coordinator, will have plenty of new games and activities to keep you well-occupied, as well as old favorites of course! Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sports court games...
Nurse, lifeguards and camp counselors provided as well as food and transportation.