Fixing a Broken Heart


When most couples learn they will be first-time parents, they typically experience emotions of excitement, anticipation and more, but for Rikki Myers and her husband Greg, they were focused on a different set of obstacles ahead.

At only 18 weeks in-utero, they learned their son, Skylar, was diagnosed with a heart defect that would result in only half of his heart forming. Essentially, he was going to be born with a broken heart. They had to quickly educate themselves on his diagnosis and learn about the medical options available to increase Skylar’s odds of a long, healthy life. The Myers’ suddenly realized the importance the American Heart Association would have in their lives.

They anticipated a series of open-heart surgeries to make half of the heart do the work of a whole heart. But, further complications caused his heart function to decrease rapidly, and by three months old, Skylar was put first on the transplant list for the entire East Coast. In only six days, a perfectly matched heart was found for Skylar, and he was given a second chance at life through the work of the American Heart Association.

Unfortunately, kids like Skylar are common. In fact, one in 100 babies are born with some form of congenital heart defect, making it the most common birth defect in the world. In whole, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans.

Today’s children living with congenital heart disease are the first generation of survivors as a result of research and medical advancements funded by the American Heart Association.

By the year 2020, it’s the goal of the American Heart Association to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. Locally, work is being done to help meet that goal as the American Heart Association funds $996,192 to Central Florida institutions and a total of $9,328,664 to institutions across the state of Florida.

Today, Skylar is a happy, healthy five-year-old boy, which would not have been possible without the efforts of the American Heart Association and its dedicated supporters.

How you can help:
1. Donate or pledge a monthly donation to the American Heart Association.
2. Participate in the American Heart Association’s many fundraisers or start one yourself. Check out the FUNraiser for Heart tool at
3. Learn CPR or Stroke awareness from the American Heart Association or organize a class for your community.

Text for QR code: Scan here to help a child like Skylar by donating to the American Heart Association.


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Written by Bill Heneghan

Bill is an author, investor and serial entrepreneur.