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.


Family Heart Camp 2014
Saturday, June 28 to Monday, June 30

New location!
YMCA's Camp Douglas http://www.ywinnipegcamps.com/campdouglas/
in Woodlands MB off Hwy 6, short half hour from the Perimeter.

Come for some fun in the pool with slides, zip-lining, wall climbing, high ropes, basketball, mini golf, campfires and more!

Cabins are heated, air-conditioned, and have their own bathroom facilities including showers. Families may share a cabin but have separate rooms with bunk beds or double beds.

No cooking, no cleaning, just some fun with other heart families!

Camp cost is $25/person, with the Heart Child always being FREE, as well as toddlers 3 years old and under.

All registration forms and payments must be in by JUNE 1st.

For more information, or to request a Family Camp Registration Package, please email circleofhearts@hotmail.com or you can text/call me directly at 204-688-0418. Thank you!

Joni Wilson, Family Camp Coordinator

Heart Heroes Youth Camp 2014
Tuesday, July 1 to Friday, July 4

Hello Heart Heroes,

We are now taking registration for Youth Camp 2014! This year, it is being held on
Tuesday July 1st to Friday July 4th, 2014

As some of you may have already heard, Family Camp and Youth Camp have changed locations this year. Instead of our usual camping spot at Variety Camp at Brereton Lake, we are trying out a new site at YMCA's Camp Douglas in Woodlands MB!

There are a lot of new amenities to try out this year including heated and air conditioned cabins with washrooms and showers, a climbing tower, high ropes course, outdoor pool with water slides, mini golf, basketball, biking, geo caching, structured activities, and many more areas to explore.

The Heart Heroes Youth Program consists of 10 to 18 year old children with congenital heart defects, patients who are seen at the Variety Heart Center.

Each Heart Hero is welcome to invite one friend or sibling to camp.

Thanks to a camp grant from The Winnipeg Foundation, a grant from the Field of Dreams Foundation and CIBC Woodgundy Miracle Day, cost is free for the Heart youth and $40 for 1 friend/sibling accompanying them. Transportation is included in the cost. Our costs are a little higher this year as Camp Douglas provides all camp counselors, daily activities, food, cooks, cleaning and transportation.

Registration and payment deadline is June 1st 2014.

For more information, or to request a Youth Camp registration package, please reply by email to Cheryl Janz, Youth Camp Coordinator at cheryl@envisioncl.com.

Circle of Hearts Bud Spud and Steak
Saturday, February 8, 6:00-9:00

The Circle of Hearts Family Support Network hosted a Bud, Spud & Steak Fundraiser at Tijuana Yacht Club (TYC) on Saturday February 8, 2014, which raised funds for our yearly programming. We held it in conjunction with Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week, showing our guests what exactly we are all about: supporting our heart kids and their families!

We enjoyed a steak dinner and a speech from Edmonton Eskimo's only Donovan Alexander, who as a child, was born with a rare heart condition -- two fully working aortas that were wrapped around his esophagus and trachea. He has quite the inspiring story.
The fundraiser was a great success thanks to the silent auction contributors and ticket sales, but especially because of all the hard work the Board of Directors put into the event. You are truly wonderful!

Thank you for your support!

Annette Massey

Annual Children's Christmas Party
Saturday, December 14

Thank you to all who attended the 2013 Christmas party. The Clarion Hotel outdid themselves again this year, providing us with a great pancake breakfast and an awesome venue! Thank you Clarion!

Thank you to the Free Press for coming out and taking these two pictures and putting them in The Social Page! None of this could have been possible without the ladies on COH's Board of Directors! You are truly an amazing team!

Thank you to those who helped wrapping presents, Irma Morgan who baked all the yummy cookies the kids got to decorate, and her son Evan Morgan, who was our magician that morning. Thank you!

We said our goodbyes to Garry Robinson, who retired in December, and we welcomed the Heart Center's new social worker, Cathy Farwell. I'm sure we will all love her as well as we did Garry!

Gift for Garry

Lastly, thank you to those who contributed to the Christmas hamper! We raised a whopping $647.30 which helped two families this Christmas!

Wishing you all to be heart healthy in 2014!

Annette Massey

First Aid / CPR Training
Sunday, October 27

Thank you to all of the participants who attended the First Aid training course. It was a day filled with fun, food and learning. We are hoping this annual event will be an even bigger success next year!

Summer Picnic
September 7, 2013

The Summer Picnic was a great success!
We had absolutely beautiful weather and great families to share it with!

A big thank you goes to The Oldtimers Hockey Club for sponsoring our event! Thank you as well to our donors: The Fairmont Hotel, Power Corporation of Canada, Real Canadian Superstore, Upper Crust Bakery, Pratt’s Wholesale, Tim Horton’s, Kristen Single with Carstar, Kathleen Burr, the Buenaventura, Kaisaris and Tochez families, and Bouncen’ Good Times for your discount.

Thank you as well to The Board of Directors for organising this great event! Great job ladies!