On Friday, October 20th, advocates from across Wyoming gathered for a personal meeting with Governor Matt Mead to thank him for swiftly approving the newborn screening rules that were amended to include pulse oximetry testing to screen for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD) at Wyoming hospitals and birthing facilities.
hero_image_alt_text===Pulse Ox Advocates
thumbnail_alt_text===Pulse Ox Advocates
The air was crisp and the laughter was flowing when a group of American Heart Association advocates made their way to Cheyenne to share stories and say thank you to Governor Matt Mead for supporting a simple lifesaving pulse oximetry test for Wyoming newborns. After several years of fighting for this law, advocates were thrilled to meet each other and celebrate this victory.
The meeting highlighted 8-year-old Maverick Schutte and 8-year-old Wyatt Berkovitz, who were both born with severe cases of CCHD. Maverick shared with the Governor his adventure of throwing the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game and forming a unique bond with star player, David Ortiz, also known as ‘Big Papi’. Wyatt, introduced the Governor to his stuffed bunny, named Coconut. Wyatt told the Governor that he takes Coconut everywhere, including all of his doctor appointments, two open heart surgeries and a special camp in Denver for children with critical congenital heart defects. In exchange for a GRFW Red Dress pin, Governor Mead gave Maverick, Wyatt, and Coconut an official Governor’s pin, with the state’s iconic bucking horse and rider, resting on an outline of the state of Wyoming.
At the end of the meeting, Governor Mead turned to the mothers of Wyatt and Maverick and thanked them for bringing this rule to his attention, and told them that they were the real heroes for sharing their stories to raise awareness and for proactively helping the families who will be affected by CCHD in the future.
The Wyoming Department of Health is currently busy meeting with hospitals to implement the rule, and it will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
American Heart Association advocates attending the meeting included Cameon Berkovitz, Wyatt Berkovitz, Miss Wyoming Cheyenne Buyert, Jan Buyert, Dona Buyert, Emily Kirk, Kelly Liddle, Marti Linnane and Maverick Schutte. You may remember Marti and Maverick from a series of emails that went out to our You're The Cure network to gain support for this policy. The AHA would like to extend our thanks to all of the advocates that played a role in passing this policy! You guys rock!
Please join us in thanking Governor Matt Mead for signing this regulation that will save lives in Wyoming! CLICK HERE to get started!