When I see Valentine’s Day decorations in stores or at schools or out-and-about, I don’t think of the holiday we’ve all come to know. Instead, I think of Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) awareness.
Though many may not know this, CHD awareness week is February 7-14. It’s often forgotten—overshadowed with images of cupid and cards and candy—and it’s a week that deserves much more attention than it gets. Though, I can’t say I blame anyone for not knowing about CHD awareness week. It isn’t, after all, something I was ever aware of until I was blessed with my sweet Candice who, as many of you know, was a CHD baby.
According to the March of Dimes, CHD is the number-one birth defect. In the United States alone, around 40,000 children are born with CHD each year. One-quarter of those babies will have critical CHD, which will require surgery or other extreme measures within the child’s first year of life.
After reading these stats, then, it’s not hard to see why I struggle with Valentine’s Day. Do I think it should go away entirely? Of course not. But I also see it as a holiday that clouds a much more important awareness week. While companies profit from the countless greeting cards and chocolate boxes and teddy bears they sell, there’s a huge opportunity for charitable efforts that I would love to see more corporations tap into.
Having grown up in Pennsylvania and having frequented Hershey Park as a child, I am on a mission to get Hershey’s to start selling Valentine’s candy that is somehow connected to CHD awareness week. I would love to see CHD awareness facts on some packaging, with a portion of profits going to CHD research. Think about all of the profits Hershey’s could generate and all of the awesome opportunities they’d have for really fun marketing tactics (selling chocolate kisses with #kissesforacause, for example)—not to mention the huge difference they could make by donating even just a small percentage of profits to CHD research.
I ask that you help me spread this idea by sharing this post, and posts of your own, using #kissesforacause. Together, let’s get to the heart of what Valentine’s Day is about—love and kindness.