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.

Upcoming Events

Circle of Hearts Annual Christmas Party
Sunday, December 7th, 2014

The Circle of Hearts Family Support Network is pleased to invite you all to our upcoming Breakfast with Santa, being held on Sunday, December 7th, from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon, at the Clarion Hotel. Please see attached poster for more details.

Please RSVP by email, phone or on our Facebook page before November 23rd, 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.

Special guest (aside from Santa of course) Al Simmons!

We look forward to seeing you there!


~ Circle of Hearts Board ~

Circle of Hearts Support Meeting
Thursday, December 11 at 7PM

• Want to meet other heart parents?
• Son or daughter about to have heart surgery?
• Having a tough time coping with a diagnosis?
• Would you like to help other heart families?

If so, come join us for our next support meeting at:

Royal LePage Learning Center (north of main building)
1877 Henderson Hwy
Thursday, December 11 at 7PM

Circle of Hearts Bud Spud and Steak
Saturday, February 7th, 2015 at 5:00 - 8:00

Circle of Hearts Family Support Network’s Fundraiser in Celebration of Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week

February 7th 2015, 5pm-8pm
Cowboys at the Windsor Park Inn
1034 Elizabeth Road
$20 each (Support-only tickets $10)
Silent Auction, 50/50, Perfume Draw
Food: Option of steak or chicken, fries, garlic toast, caesar salad, sauteed mushrooms and veggies

Past Events

First Aid / CPR Training
Sunday November 9, 2014

Circle of Hearts Family Support Network offered a CPR/AED course at a reduced rate. This course taught participants how to administer CPR to infants, children and adults, along with how to use an AED. Thanks to all who attended this year.


Disco Beat sets the tempo for CPR Month this November
New Guidelines make it easier to save a Life

Ottawa – The Heart and Stroke Foundation is shining the spotlight on new emergency care guidelines designed to simplify performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during CPR Month this November.

The new guidelines stress early recognition, urging people to call 9-1-1 or their local emergency number if they ever find someone collapsed and unresponsive, and not to delay by ’looking, listening and feeling’ for breathing or pulse. They also recommend that instead of trying to remember how many compressions and how many breaths, bystanders doing CPR are urged simply to “push fast and push hard.”

“Many people hold back from doing CPR because they are afraid they may do it wrong or that they may hurt the person,” says Dr. Andrew Travers. “We want to make it clear that technique is less important than doing chest compressions quickly and firmly.”

“Think of the ‘70s Bee Gees song Stayin’ Alive and that will give you an idea of how fast compressions should be done.”
“We know Canadians want to help, especially given the fact that four out of five cardiac arrests occur at home or in public places,” says Linda Piazza, director of health policy and research with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “These changes make CPR easier to learn, easier to do and we believe people will be more likely to step in and respond to a cardiac emergency.”

Overall, the odds of surviving a cardiac arrest are almost four times greater if someone performs CPR right away. When CPR is combined with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and used within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, survival rates can increase by as much as 75 percent. Without CPR and defibrillation, fewer than 5 per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive.

The Foundation recommends that all Canadians learn the life-saving skills of CPR and review this knowledge often.

Summer Picnic
Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 1:00 - 3:30 PM

We had loads of fun at this year's summer picnic! Check out photos in the Gallery!

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

The kids from the Heart Heroes Youth Program had a blast at this year's Youth Camp! This year it was held at Camp Douglas on Tuesday July 1st to Friday July 4th, 2014.

The kids tried their hands at conquering a rock climbing tower, a high ropes course, had a splash in the outdoor pool and slides, mini golf, basketball and many other group activities.

A big thank you goes to The Winnipeg Foundation, The Field of Dreams Foundation and CIBC Woodgundy for sponsoring the camp which allowed the heart heroes go for free!

A thank you goes to Cheryl Janz, Heart Heroes Youth Program Coordinator, for coordinating this successful and fun camp!