A Mother's Story
Most mothers-to-be remember the pure joy as they reflect on their 20-week ultrasound appointment; the anticipation of little toes and fingers and the fast heartbeat blaring out is overpowering. Tamara and her husband Reggie, however, remember a completely different experience. Their ultrasound appointment was as life-changing as they expected it would be, but not at all in the way that they imagined. Just moments into the scan, their technician suddenly walked out of the room, and two young parents were left to wait in silence for news they never could have prepared themselves for. Moments later, a doctor appeared to deliver the sad news that their unborn baby had a congenital heart defect (CHD) and would most likely require surgery at birth. This moment defined the second half of Tamara's pregnancy and would change their family's entire life. Mekai was delivered, 6 weeks early, by emergency c-section. He fought to make it into the world and has continued that fight long after, already having survived two major heart surgeries in his very young life.
One of the most staggering emotions that a parent experiences through this process is loneliness; while watching her child battle a critical illness, this became an all too familiar feeling for Tamara. Her family became dependent on the Valley Children's Hospital for procedures, check-ups, surgeries, and support. While trying to balance the other areas of her life, Tamara was forced to come face to face with countless difficult decisions and painful experiences - some too complicated to share with her closest allies. What she did not expect on those many trips back and forth to the hospital, was the connections she made with fellow family members of sick children. The mutual trust and fellowship that formed from this dark space kept Tamara going on the worst days. She became motivated to reach out to them, letting them know that they were not alone. That connection soon morphed into a purpose and from that came the idea for His Heart Beats. There is purpose in pain, and Mekai's beating heart has now birthed new life and purpose into this mom.
Who We Are
His Heart Beats was founded in December of 2015 with the mission to mobilize communities in joint efforts to support, encourage, visit, and provide relief to hospitals and families with critically ill children. This mission was realized when one mother connected with another mother of a child with CHD with whom she could share similar experiences, frustrations, and loneliness. Their thoughts turned to action, and it was from this partnership that a vision of movement in the community was birthed. With the Valley's rural needs in mind and the pervasive progression of chronic childhood illness, more than 200 people have now joined together to service families.
Hoping to spread awareness about the many illnesses affecting children and motivate communities to rally around their neighbors during difficult circumstances, His Heart Beats takes an active approach to helping children and their families in local hospitals. Through food and toy drives, donations, meal services, and fundraisers, our organization gives everyday people a chance to get involved in a statewide effort that helps small children in a big way.