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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Heart Warriors" (A Book Review - & a Birthday Request)


As parents, we love our kids with our whole hearts, but what happens when we're told the newest addition to the family is about to be born with only half a heart?

Amanda Rose Adams and her husband, Jim were given the devastating news that their unborn son, Liam, had a severe case of Congenital Heart Disease, a silent killer that affects more than two million families in the United States.
The young couple had, according to the doctors,  only two options: termination of the five-month-old fetus or hospice care for a child who would probably die before his first birthday.

Amanda and Jim chose instead to fight for life – a quality of life – for Liam, and the family’s immense struggles are shared in the newly released book, Heart Warriors, a Family Faces Congenital Heart Disease.

Written by Amanda, Heart Warriors is an absolute must-read for anyone living with CHD.

But Heart Warriors is also full of hope.
Hope for a little boy with the most amazing blue eyes and a huge, cheeky smile – even though Liam has already suffered through TWELVE heart surgeries – and he is still only eight years old.

As a debut author, Amanda’s passion and love for Liam is so gritty and real that – I’ll be honest – I nearly put the book down within four pages and two reaches (for the Kleenex.)

Those first few pages were tough to read – not because of the writing, which was excellent – but because it was so easy to understand that Liam could have been any of my three sons.
Reading this book also served as a huge reminder: I should never forget how lucky my wife and I are to have healthy, scampering kids – even when the little rug rats chuck the Lucky Charms on the ground for the gazillionth time.
(Trust me; I will never again complain about how long it’s taking No. 1 Son to be seen for his routine checkup at the medical clinic, or moan that No. 2 Son has to take this or that pill.)

Amanda finishes her book with her “Heart Warriors Field Manual.” Stuffed with information on how to find local resources (including volunteer groups), the manual includes a list of supplies for the “battlefield” (i.e. in case of an extended or unplanned trip to the hospital) and even discussion questions for book clubs and “Heartlanders.”

In the short video book trailer, Amanda explains, in part, why she wrote Heart Warriors.

“If this book shows one family that they are not alone, or convinces one nurse how important she really is, or steers one medical student to pediatric cardiology, then it was worth it.”

You can find Heart Warriors via a list of online retailers here.

PS: Here's that birthday request I mentioned in the post title...

Liam turns nine in a couple of weeks (April 28), and with Amanda’s permission, please join me in sending her little Heart Warrior some early birthday greetings :)
Click here to wish young Master Adams a very happy birthday (via Facebook) and THANKS from me – I’m looking up to this kid – even though I’m probably twice his size.


Amanda Rose Adams
Amanda Rose Adams, M.S., PMP, author of Heart Warriors, One Family Faces Congenital Heart Disease, combines her experience as a communicator with her passion to battle CHD.
Amanda is the president of the Colorado Chapter of the Children’s Heart Foundation, is the founder of the nonprofit Hypoplastic Right Hearts, and has organized dozens of charity events, informational campaigns, and planned or participated in multiple medical education conferences for parents across the U.S.A. and has mentored and supported families facing CHD all over the world.


Jo Schaffer Layton said...

Oh, precious.
My youngest son was born with multiple birth defects-- It's been a heart wrenching and joyful journey--through all the surgeries and worries over his development etc. But out of it has grown the kind of love that turns you inside out.
We have been blessed by so many doctors and nurses and other service providers--I totally appreciate the people who dedicate their time and expertise to treat these sweet children.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. (=

Unknown said...

Thanks, Mark, for reviewing this marvellous sounding book. I'll definitely check it out. I'll have plenty of tissues next to me...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What an amazing story.

Stina said...

I know I wouldn't make it through the book in one piece. I teared up at the explanation of the premise.

My first born was 13 weeks premature. NICU, multitudes of meds, and tons of specialist appointments were a way of time for many months. That and seeing my new friends watch their babies die. Most parents don't realize just how luck they are, even when they are woken in the middle of the night with a hungry baby.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this heartfelt review, Mark.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Wow. I have goosebumps. Sometimes we need a reminder about what a real 'problem' looks like. Prayers for health little Adam.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Sorry. His name is Liam. I have an Adam...Conner Adam...and Mark is right, you here stories like this and you see your own baby and thank God for the blessings we take for granted.

Unknown said...

Poignant book, great review.

Look forward to your challenge run…
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Sounds like a very emotional read.

Write Life said...

I lost my first son to a congenital heart defect. I'll never forget his last breath. I wonder all the time if it happened now, with technology and all, if something could have been done differently.
I never knew in advance.
Never saw it coming. It was a whirlwind from the moment I went into labor.
It was so very many years ago, and now three sons later, I still have never forgotten that last breath, or the poor wee fellow that took it.
It's so wonderful to hear that our experience is not the only experience to CHD!
Thank you for sharing!

Morgan said...

I have a hard time reading stories like these :)

I know for me, dealing with what we've dealt with watching our little boy, it's opened my eyes to be grateful for what we're *not* dealing with. Does that make sense?

Life is precious. And what a fabulous post, Mark. :)

Nicole said...

What a powerful story! I've been lucky not to have experience anything like this in my own life, and I can only imagine the struggle, strength and love it takes to endure. A very happy birthday indeed!

M Pax said...

I know someone who lost their child to that. All my best to Liam's continued fight.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

You are so nice. What a great story.

Nice to meet you.


rch said...

great review and nice inspiration to really be happy with what you have, oops there goes the charms again ;-)

Leigh Covington said...

Mark! See! Now you know why I call you Mushy Mark! Because I cry when I read stuff like this and you are the kind of person with a big enough heart to share this amazing book and story with us. What an amazing kid! I'm covered in goosebumps and holding back tears. I can't wait to send some birthday wishes! :) Thank you for sharing!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

Children continually amaze me with their strength and resiliency. Many adults, if they had to go through even a portion of what some kids have to go through, they would be whining and complaining at the least. Kids are amazing, and this sounds like a fabulous, touching story!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

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