Board of Directors
Jana Walters, President
Todd Walters, Vice President
Cara Gore, Secretary
Jill McMahon, Treasurer
I am a BSN prepared Registered Nurse and mother of a child with a CHD. I was not aware that my son had a CHD when he was born. Only after a routine echocardiogram at a local hospital to investigate an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, I discover that he had a murmur and was told that my son would need open heart surgery to replace a valve. Our family ventured on the 3-hour trip to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for more detailed tests and specialized care. My husband and I were blessed to meet with a wonderful cardiologist who answered all our questions and assured us that our son would not need surgery at this time. My son was officially diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve and dilation of the aortic root. The cardiologist also informed us that the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh would be monitoring him closely, and the surgery would only be scheduled when his valve function or aortic dilation reaches a critical point.
After receiving the diagnosis, we looked into the community for support, and what we found is that there is none! We did not know anyone who had experienced this nor had this in their family. That is when I realized the need for a local organization to provide support, education, and awareness to the North Central PA area.
I am a business owner and father of a child with a CHD. My son was born a healthy thriving little boy, but little did we know, he had a heart defect. After he was discovered to have a heart defect, my wife and I realized the need to drive greater awareness for CHD within the surrounding counties. Living in a very rural area, we were forced to travel a couple hours away from home to see a pediatric cardiologist for care. We also realized that there is very little resources available for those individuals going through the same things we were. There is very little awareness of CHD in our area as well. We wanted to do something to help make a difference, not only for our son but for many children and families. This organization will allow us to educate and provide support to many.
My husband Keith and I have a son named Kayden who just turned 3. I am a registered nurse and have been friends with Jana Walters since we attended nursing school together. I became very interested in children with heart defects when Jana and Todd’s son Brayden was first diagnosed with a heart defect. I have never personally known any child who suffered from this before so this really hit home to me. I have watched and listened to the struggles that not only Brayden has gone through but his entire family as well. I am both pleased and honored that I am now going to be a part of this foundation and am hopeful that as a team we will be able to make a positive effect for the future.
My name is Jill McMahon. Together my husband and I own and manage a local business. We have also been blessed with two healthy daughters, who are ages 1 and 3. With that being said, the common denominator between Jana and I was our children! With the rollercoaster of emotions that accompanies bearing and raising children I could not personally imagine how that would be intensified by having a child with a heart defect. In my association with Jana and her son Brayden I have learned what worry and challenges it can bring, especially in an area like ours with little to no support for parents and families. I am honored and thankful to become a part of this organization. I look forward to helping families and individuals in our community in anyways that I can.
My name is Randi Means. I am a mother to 2 boys and I work as Cosmetologist. My god son was diagnosed with a congenital heart and I have witnessed the struggles they have experienced. I wanted to be involved with this organization to help my family and those who have struggled with congenital heart defects.