GREENTOWN - Erica Smith and her 5-year-old daughter Natalie are on a mission to spread the word about congenital heart defects by wearing red, February 22. By wearing red, the Smiths and many of their family and friends will be showing their support for the condition that Natalie was diagnosed with while in utero at 14 weeks gestation.

This year marks the fifth for #iwearredfornatalie and the family hopes others will join them. When Natalie was five-weeks-old, she had open heart surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Now, as Natalie grows, her pulmonary valve isn’t functioning correctly, which causes an enlargement to the lower right chamber of her heart. As a result, every six months the family visits the doctor for a cardiac echo to monitor the leak. If the leak worsens, Natalie will need another open heart surgery. Erica said an aspect of the problem is that it won’t be until her daughter’s heart is fully grown, that the valve can be replaced.

Through #iwearredfornatalie, Erica hopes to inform others about the condition, as well as seek resources and funding to support the “heart warriors” at CHOP she said.

To further their support for people with congenital heart defects, Erica designed shirts, that are for sale and can be found on the Facebook page #iwearredfornatalie. Proceeds from the sales will go to CHOP.

Erica, who lives in Greentown, asks others to join her and Natalie February 22 for #IwearREDforNatalie. For more information search I WEAR RED FOR NATALIE on Facebook.