Mike Laub, Executive Director
I am the father of two amazing children, Olivia & Trevor, and husband to a wonderful wife, Christina. My wife has been unbelievably supportive when my career moved us from New Jersey, to Palm Beach, Florida, to Dallas, Texas and finally back home to New Jersey. It was in Dallas when we had our first child and was hurled into an unfamiliar world of CHD. The morning after my wife’s unplanned C-section, instead of seeing the nurse bring in our beautiful baby girl, we were introduced to a pediatric cardiologist who proceeded to explain a condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Everything became a blur after that as Olivia was whisked away to Medical City Dallas Hospital and was scheduled for her first of three open heart surgeries at the age of 4 days.
A day does not go by that I am not incredibly thankful for having educated doctors that immediately identified Olivia’s distress and performed miracles on a little baby. I am truly inspired by Olivia’s strength, her passion for life, and her loving personality that brings a smile to everyone she encounters. She continues to amaze us with everything that she does. She is fearless and a champion.
I am honored at the opportunity to give back to the CHD Community and to help advance the Congenital Heart Defect Coalition mission.
Mickey Wilder, President
I am a Pediatric Cardiology nurse, and have worked in outpatient Pediatric Cardiology for 19 years. Prior to that, I worked in the NICU for 18 years, often taking care of newborns diagnosed with a CHD.
I have been fortunate to belong to several organizations that serve the CHD community. For 10 years, I was the Head Nurse of the Hope with Heart camp in New York. The residential camp program allows children with moderate-to-severe CHD a safe place to experience the joys of childhood and friendship. I am also a member of the Heart Care International Team and the Gift of Life International Team. Both medical mission teams travel to developing countries to bring education, intervention and surgery to those children & families affected by a CHD. The ultimate goal of both organizations is to help build sustainable pediatric cardiology programs where there is none. I have been privileged to be part of over 40 mission trips spanning 16 years.
Since 2007 I have had the pleasure to be in a support/advocacy group to help families affected by CHD. It has been a privilege to work with such amazing, dedicated and courageous people in the cause to improve the quality of life for all those affected by a CHD. The parents and children have become “My Heroes”!!!!
I have been married to my husband Glenn for 35 years, and we have three daughters. Our oldest daughter has Type 1 diabetes and is dependent on an insulin pump for survival. Our youngest daughter has multiple learning disabilities and attended a specialized school and is now involved in several special needs adult programs, including Special Olympics. The world of “special needs” not unfamiliar to me.
Kevin Novreske, Vice President
I am single father to a incredible young woman, Ashley. My career is as an IT Storage Engineer. After several years of traveling globally as a consultant, the impact on my health and well being from extensive travel started to take its toll. So, I decided to take a permanent position with a global firm based in New York City. After a few years of living in New Jersey, I became friends with an amazing nurse, Mickey Wilder.
It was through Mickey that I became aware of the severity of congenital heart defects, yet like most people I was not aware of the condition up to this point. This was at a time when I was ready to start giving back to the community. After meeting everyone involved with the CHD Coalition, it was clear that this is a cause that I wanted to belong to and dedicate my time.
Linda Baamonde, Marketing Operations
I am the mother of two incredible young men; Michael & Anthony. When my husband Bob and I went into the hospital to have Anthony in April of 1995, we thought we knew what to expect since we had already had gone through childbirth. It wasn’t until Anthony was an hour old that we were unexpectedly brought into the world of congenital heart defects. Anthony was born with Tri-Cuspid Stenosis and an ASD. He had surgery at three weeks old and spent two weeks in the hospital. As with all CHD kids, he’s closely monitored and we don’t know if he will need future surgeries so we don’t think too far ahead and just take one day at a time.
It wasn’t until Anthony was in his twenties that we found the CHD Coalition. For most of his life we never met any other families with a CHD so it was a blessing to find this group of parents and children who know exactly what we are going through. It is a privilege to work with such a passionate group of people all working towards the same goal.
Cathy Biamonte, Hospital Programs Coordinator and Office Manager
My husband and I, like all first-time parents-to-be, we were a bit nervous during the many ultrasounds, never imagining that, at 20-weeks, a problem would be discovered. Our child was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot. Our son, Michael Angelo, had his repair at 10 weeks old at Mt. Sinai in New York City. Michael experienced several complications after his operation, but over a few difficult months, he got past them and started to gain weight and thrive. Now, he is going to school, riding his bike, and running around just like other children his age!
Before I became a stay-at-home heart mom, I was a retail sales manager for a very high-end apparel brand. My career success depended on relationship building, outreach and marketing. Today, I consider myself lucky to be able to leverage these skills with the CHD Coalition to help other parents who have the same concerns and challenges with their children. Together we spread awareness, give support, and raise funds for research. I could not be more proud to be part of a team that does such important work!
Barbara McFadden, Scholarship Coordinator and Research Coordinator
It’s hard to believe that is was over 20 years ago when my daughter, Tara, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Just one day old she was whisked away to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC and days later had her first of 3 open heart surgeries to repair her heart. Those first 3 years were difficult not only for her heart issues, but also for the fact that she would not eat and had to be tube fed (very slowly) for several years.
She is now a lovely young lady in college who enjoys swimming, photography and of course, spending time on the latest social media outlet.
Throughout the years I have been involved with different local heart support organizations (both on the receiving and giving sides of comfort – and I much prefer giving). I am so thrilled to be a part of the CHD Coalition. I hope the work we can achieve will bring comfort and education to CHD families in need, that we can help fund worthwhile CHD research, and that we can celebrate medical successes and advancements that will help to improve the quality of life for those with congenital heart defects.
Rachel Oldenburger, Social Media
Robyn Steinberg, Website
My husband and I were introduced to CHDs when I was 20 weeks pregnant with our first son, and he was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot. We had been so excited for the anatomy ultrasound to find out if we were having a boy or a girl and were instead hit by a curve ball it seemed. We decided to be optimistic and plan for his arrival. Joshua was born at Columbia Presbyterian on March 1, 2008 and was released from the NICU after just a week. His pulse ox was in the acceptable range and he had time to grow before open heart surgery was necessary. Josh had open heart surgery in October 2008 and October 2009.
Today he is a boisterous 11 year old who loves to do just about everything! He rides his bike, plays sports, and enjoys school. I am involved with the CHD Coalition so I can help make information available to other CHD families who find themselves thrown into the world of CHD. Every child’s heart is different, but through the coalition, we do not have to be alone. My goal is to help the coalition support our families and raise awareness for CHDs.