"Our son Reichen is a stroke survivor. He suffered a stroke before he was even born. At the time we did not know that children could have strokes, much less an unborn baby.
Three years after his diagnosis, we learned what caused Reichen's stroke, a disorder called Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT), which is caused when the mother is allergic to an element of the baby's blood and her immune system unknowingly attacks the baby's platelets causing a stroke.
We walk in the Heart Walk to raise awareness that children, and babies, can have strokes. Early diagnosis is key in being able to provide life-saving support and attempting to minimize long-term impacts. Early diagnosis for Reichen allowed him to have many therapies to stimulate other areas of his brain while he was still developing. And it allowed us to do special treatments when pregnant with our second child so we could prevent her from having a stroke.
Reichen is now an amazing 6-year-old doing all of the things that 6-year-old boys love to do. We have been involved with the Heart Walk since 2011.
Thank you for walking with us on May 31st to help continue the life-saving research of the American Heart Association."
Kiera - Reichen's mom
The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation's No.1 and No.4 killers, claim more than 813,804 American lives a year. Thanks to all our walkers, donors and volunteers who have accepted the challenge to help fight heart disease and stroke. We cannot achieve our mission without each one of you!