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Scoopers help heart research



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July 23, 2014 - BY LAURA DUCHARME

Special to the Clarkston News

Culver's of Clarkston partnered with Oakland County Parks and Recreation to raise money for the Children's Heart Foundation Michigan Chapter, July 15.

Family-friendly activities at the 5th annual Scoop for Hearts fundraiser included face painting and balloon twisting. Oakland County Parks and Recreation provided giant inflatables with slides and Planet Kids Premiere Academy provided a bounce house for smaller children.

Profits from this event go towards research to help fight congenital heart defects (CHD), raise awareness of CHD in Michigan and advocate for families. In previous years, this event raised between $2,000 and $5,000.

"It's been amazing to see Culver's guests return for the event each year and support what we're doing at The Children's Heart Foundation," said Sally Powers, president of The Children's Heart Foundation Michigan Chapter and a mother of a 5-year-old son with a CHD. "You can see the community's outpouring of support inside the restaurant, as they've decorated the walls with donated hearts. We're very grateful to be part of the Clarkston community, where businesses and organizations like Oakland County Parks and Recreation partner for causes that are important to its citizens. OCPR's festival inflatables are the event's main attraction!"

CHD's are more common than people realize, Powers said. It is the leading cause of infant death in the US, as well as the leading birth defect. With over 40 different types of heart defects there is no known cure for any of them. Advancements have been made in the last 10 years, though. With more research, death rates have declined by 30%.

The Children's Heart Foundation has chapters across the country. The non-profit organization came to Michigan in 2010 and has different fundraisers throughout the year. Scoop for Hearts is a great cause that helps many families, including families in Mid-Michigan, Power said.

Her son, Sam, was 2 days old when the murmur in his heart was detected. Powers and her husband were informed that Sam had Aortic Stenosis. His aortic valve was preventing oxygenated blood from pumping from his heart to the rest of his body. He had three heart surgeries in his first year. Organizations like The Children's Heart Foundation help families, such as Sam's, by continuously doing research and promoting awareness of CHD.

Their efforts continue with the Congenital Heart Walk on Sunday, Sept. 28, at Depot Park. Last year's walk nationwide raised $108,000.

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