BINGHAMTON, NY – Binghamton Firefighters are rallying around one of their own by helping to get the word out about the prevalence of heart defects at birth.
The entire fire department is participating in a red balloon awareness campaign in support of firefighter Jim Root’s son Elliott who was born with a congenital heart defect.
Members of the department will be wearing red balloon pins in the coming week and while marching in the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
Elliott was diagnosed with a single left ventricle, commonly referred to as half a heart, while still in the womb during an ultrasound at 20 weeks.
Elliott’s mother Amy says the 12 year-old has had to endure 5 open heart surgeries, the 3rd of which lead to serious complications.
She’s made it her mission to let others know more about the most common form of birth defect.
“I’ve been working for the last several years trying to figure out how I get this message out. I do a lot of social networking and things like that but to have the Binghamton Fire Department be willing to wear the pins is really fabulous,” says Amy.
Root herself conceived of the red balloon as a symbol of heart defects which has been embraced by the American Heart Association.
She says heart defects kill more children than pediatric cancer yet receive just a small fraction of overall research funding.
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