Caden’s Crew

Team captain: Melanie Joseph
Raising funds for: 2021 Walk
$1,725.00 donated
24 Donors
Campaign has ended

Help us help pediatric cardiac patients!

On Sunday, September 19, we’re participating in the Big Hearts to Little Hearts Walk as Caden’s Crew once again! When Caden was an infant, I stumbled upon BH2LH and started learning more about the group’s mission. Founded by a fiercely driven heart mama, the group is comprised of many amazing heart families. Together they have raised an impressive amount of money that has been channelled to specific research projects at the Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Not only has BH2LH donated over 1 MILLION dollars to CHOP research, the group has also funded a few other independent projects. All of this research results in knowledge, progress and improvements for pediatric cardiac patients – our own kids! BH2LH is truly an impressive group of people doing impressive things!

If you’ve ever read my son, Caden’s, heart story (it’s below you want to read it) you may recall that Caden had a conduit placed in his heart at age one. You may also have seen in his story that “Caden will outgrow that conduit at some point in childhood and need it replaced”. This summer (2021), Caden underwent an investigative cardiac catheterization and the findings tell us that the time for his conduit replacement is almost here. This is a difficult next step in Caden’s journey but we have faith in the medical expertise at CHOP to pull him through successfully. Choices available to Caden and his doctors now are different and better than what existed a few years ago. Why? RESEARCH. DEVELOPMENT. PROGRESS. And this answer is true for so many different procedures needed by a wide variety of pediatric cardiac patients. The programs and research that BH2LH supports truly result in measurable advancements and undoubtedly change the lives of children and their families.

Caden’s Crew has participated in Big Hearts to Little Hearts fundraisers since 2013. This group and its mission has been a part of our family for almost Caden’s whole life. We want to see every heart warrior thrive. We want to support the programs and the people that will give all pediatric cardiac patients a chance to live long lives. Please consider supporting us in our fundraising effort in any way you can. There is no donation too small because all amounts together add up to greatness – great things that Big Hearts can fund and great achievements that can be made!

Caden thanks you from the bottom of his very special heart!

And we all thank you for your support! 

xoxo, The Josephs 

Melanie, Michael, Serafina, Phoebe and Caden

Here you can read about Caden’s story: On July 24, 2012, Caden was born in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Garbose Special Delivery Unit with d-TGA, VSD and PS. (These things means that his aorta and pulmonary artery were switched from the way they need to be for proper function – Transposition of the Great Arteries, he had a hole between the lower chambers of his heart called a Ventricular Septal Defect, and a narrowing of his pulmonary valve known as Pulmonary Stenosis). We knew about these things since 19 weeks into the pregnancy and received regular prenatal care from cardiologist Dr. Goldberg and a team of other doctors and nurses in the CHOP Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center. Most often TGA is corrected within the first week of life by a procedure called an arterial switch and we hoped for him to undergo this surgery after birth. When he was first born at CHOP, Dr. Glatz performed an atrial balloon septostomy to create a hole (an ASD) between the upper chambers of his heart. With the two holes in his heart – his ASD and his VSD – his blood could mix and become oxygenated enough for him to be stable. At first we still hoped for an arterial switch procedure to correct his d-TGA, but within the first days of his life we discovered that his PS was too severe and he was not a good candidate for a switch procedure. We planned for him to have a different repair procedure between four and ten months old. With his oxygen levels hovering around 80%, we left the hospital at five days old with a pulse ox machine, a bunch of nerves and a lot of hope. 

After a few months it was clear that Caden’s oxygen levels weren’t going to remain high enough for everyone’s comfort. When Caden was four months old, he had his first open heart surgery. Dr. Spray placed a BT shunt which increased his pulmonary blood flow and increased his oxygen levels. That worked well and after a five day hospital stay we were home. Now the plan was to move his full repair surgery to about one year old. Growing bigger meant growing stronger which is a benefit for any cardiac surgery if you have that luxury. On August 1, 2013 Caden underwent his “big” surgery for his full repair. Dr. Spray removed the BT shunt, closed the ASD, and performed what’s called a Rastelli procedure to correct the d-TGA. In brief, by baffling Caden’s VSD with a GoreTex patch, blood is directed from his left ventricle to his aorta properly. Then a new valved conduit is inserted to establish continuity between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. Once again we were discharged in five short days after this amazing heart reconfiguration. Caden will outgrow that conduit at some point in childhood and need it replaced and an investigative cardiac catheterization in July 2021 shows that time is fast approaching, We are hopeful, however, that the hardest, biggest surgery is now behind us.

Caden goes to CHOP regularly for cardiac follow-ups and overall has been doing great. In August 2018, Caden began a daily baby aspirin regimen and we monitor his conduit width every 6 months. We have learned that each child’s cardiac care plan is individualized and can change as they grow, so we take Caden’s heart journey step by step. His uniquely configured heart is supporting his growing body well and we thank God for this miracle every day. This journey has also taught us so much about the strength and resilience of children and through that how to become stronger ourselves. 

The Rastelli procedure that saved Caden’s life was first introduced in 1967 and our hearts are heavy to think about children born with a similarly complex defect prior to that time. We know that THE RESEARCH MATTERS. We are compelled to support research and programs that advance children’s cardiac care, giving better quality of life and longer lives to all cardiac superheros. We walk to celebrate Caden’s amazing heart and to keep moving forward in congenital heart disease research and care.

Team Members

  1. Captain
    Melanie Joseph
    $1,725.00 raised