A Letter from Travis Mlakar- CEO of Millcraft
“There is a problem with your son. We have to take him to the NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit) immediately.” Those were the words that welcomed me to parenthood eighteen years ago. Many of you know that my oldest son, Jake, was born with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. In simple terms that means his pulmonary artery, which takes blood from his heart to his lungs, did not actually connect to his heart. The result, he was unable to get oxygen to his blood and he was suffocating just hours after being born.
Jake’s story is not unique though. You see, heart disease is the #1 cause of deaths in the United States each year claiming over 650,000 lives. In addition, stroke is the #5 cause of death in the United States claiming over 145,000 people per year (and debilitating thousands more). In total, these two afflictions result in 28% of all deaths in the US each year. But, if you think those stats are staggering what is even more amazing is that Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally.
You want to know why the American Heart Association (AHA) is something I am involved in? Because its personal not just for me but for each of you.
The AHA is dedicated to being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. That mission, today more than ever, is something that should ring true for all of us. Through research, volunteer work, education and more this amazing organization is dedicated to helping all of us live healthier and happier lives. Let’s all take a moment to help support a great cause!