Conference to focus on challenges of American families affected by congenital heart defects

HOUSTON, May 28, 2009 - More than one million American families cope with congenital heart defects, but the enormous obstacles they face remain out of the public spotlight. The non-profit organization, It's My Heart, is working to change that, organizing a conference devoted especially to the challenges these families face and the opportunities offered by medical advances.

It's My Heart's First Annual National Family Conference Weekend is scheduled June 26-28. The event's centerpiece is a day-long educational conference on Saturday, June 27th that coincides with a unique conference especially for children. The country duo O'Shea, featuring singer, song-writer and congenital heart defect survivor Mark O'Shea, will also perform at the conference Saturday.

Other weekend events include a Friday night Meet & Greet for families and a day of fun at the Houston Zoo on Sunday.

"This conference will help everyone affected by CHD by providing everyone who participates with tools to be better advocates both medically and in the community," said Corrie Stassen, executive director with It's My Heart. "Bringing all these families together will also be special because sharing our experiences with each other is an important way to connect and learn."

Conference presentations will delve into topics ranging from surgery and treatments to advances in genetic research.

Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect. 35,000 babies are born in the U.S. each year with some type of congenital heart defect. Nearly twice as many children die from congenital heart disease in the United States each year as die from all forms of childhood cancers combined.

Registration is $30 for one participant or $50 for two. Each family can register up to two children ages five and up for the Children's Conference at no additional cost. Register at

Sponsors of the First Annual National Family Conference on Congenital Heart Disease include Cypress Fiairbanks Medical Center Hospital, Epicurean Catering Company, jetBlue Airways, Noise New Media, Starbucks Coffee and Texas Children's Hospital.

About It's My Heart

It's My Heart is a 501©(3) organization created to provide support, spread awareness, educate and advocate for those affected by Acquired and Congenital Heart Defects by creating alliances with fellow families, hospitals, support groups and the community. For more information, visit