My name is Isaac Landry. I live in Auburn NH with my Mom, Dad, and three brothers: Ethan, Aidan and Evan. I was Mommy’s second baby. She had all boys. Even the dog is a boy! Our dog is named Guinness and he was my birthday present when I turned 7 years old. I’m 9 now, so Guinness is two years old.
When I was born, my parents found out that I had congenital heart disease. I needed surgery right away to repair my aorta, as I had what they call a coartation of the aorta. That helped me for a long time, until I was 5 when I needed to have an additional surgery to repair my mitral valve, which by then had developed a severe leak. I feel very lucky that the repairs my heart needed could be made so that now I can do all the things I like to do – play hockey, golf, swim, run, skateboard, whatever. I’m really healthy and my Mom says that if I take good care of my heart I may never need another surgery again.
I feel that it is important for me to share my stories to help other families who may be affected by heart disease. I want to do what I can to raise money so that the doctors and scientists can keep doing the kind of work that helped fix my heart. I also want to let other kids know that they can make it through something like this. It wasn’t easy, but now that the surgery is over and I have healed, I feel so much better than I did before. I used to be tired all the time, but now I have energy and I am able to play with my friends like I want to.
Every year, I do the American Heart Association’s Heartwalk and raise money to help other kids (and grown ups, too) with heart disease. I also do Jump rope for Heart at my School (the Auburn Village School) and I have spoken at a number of events for the Heart Association as a Survivor. I feel that sharing my story is important so that people who were born with Healthy Hearts never take their hearts for granted. It is important to eat good foods and get lots of exercise. It is also important to love people, and give back when you, yourself, have been given a second chance. My Mom tells me all the time how lucky our family is that we were able to get me healthy. I have painted two paintings that I donated to the AHA in Manchester NH to thank them for all they have done for us.
Someday, I hope that I can do more to help kids with heart disease. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be a pediatric cardiologist, like one of the doctors who saved me!
--Isaac Landry, Grade 3, Auburn NH