‘The Beat Goes On’ event set to support youths with heart disease

A charity conference has been announced to support young people living with congenital heart disease.

February is Global Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness for a disease that affects approximately one in every 100 babies born in Ireland each year. In short, CHD is a general term to describe problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth.

To mark Global CHD Awareness Month, the charity, Heart Children, will be hosting ‘The Beat Goes On’ conference, targeted towards young people with CHD (aged between 16 and 25), along with their parents.

Taking place in just a few weeks time, on Saturday, February 24, ‘The Beat Goes On’ will aim to focus on the transition from child to adult CHD services.

Throughout the day, the event will tackle topics such as how to manage your continuing medical care, the dos and don’ts of being a teenager with CHD, and how to advocate for yourself as a person with a silent disability.

18-year-old Síofra Thomas, who is also the Chair of the Heart Children Youth Council, was diagnosed with CHD three days after her birth in 2005. Speaking about her condition, she explained: “I experience constant fatigue and tiredness, as well as frequent shortness of breath, which can impact time spent with friends and family as well as my schooling.”

“I will most likely require surgeries in the future and I will forever have to manage my heart health with check-ups and other doctor appointments. Although my life has not been easy, I have reached a point now where I am the healthiest I have ever been,” she added.

‘The Beat Goes On’ conference, which is in partnership with the Children’s Heart Centre, CHI Crumlin, and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Unit at the Mater Hospital, will be taking place on Saturday February 24 from 10am to 3pm at Chartered Accountants House, Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

The conference is free to attend, and you can register now at www.heartchildren.ie.