Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common heart defect?

Congenital Heart Defects are the most common birth defect in America, affecting approximately 1 in 100 or 40,000 newborns each year.

What is a congenital heart defect?

A congenital heart defect is a malformation of the heart or the arteries/large blood vessels near the heart. Structural problems with the heart present at birth can result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant.

What prenatal test can detect CHD’s?

An echocardiogram can accurately detect many heart defects. This test needs to be performed by a specialized doctor and not an obstetrician. Some heart defects can be detected through routine ultrasound.

What tests are used to diagnose heart defects after birth?

Babies and children who are suspected of having a heart defect are usually referred to a pediatric cardiologist. Test that can be performed: Chest X-ray Electrocardiogram – a test that records heart rate patterns Echocardiogram – a special form of ultrasound that uses sound waves to take pictures of the heart Cardiac Catheterization – a thin, flexible tube inserted into the heart to examine for defects, pumping ability, measure blood pressure within the heart and oxygen in the blood.

How many known congenital heart defects are there

There are 35 known distinct heart defects.

What causes CHD?

In most cases, scientists do not know what makes a baby’s heart develop abnormally, however genetics and environmental factors are identified: Genetics can play a role, such as atrial septal defect (a hole between the upper chambers of the heart) Environmental sources, such as mother contracting a viral infection during first months of pregnancy. Certain medications increase risks: some acne and seizure medications.

How serious is CHD?

It is a lifetime affliction, requiring lifelong medical care.

How are congenital heart defects treated?

Most heart defects can be corrected or helped with surgery, medicine, or devices, such as artificial valves and pacemakers.

What is the overall mortality rate of CHD patients?

CHDs are responsible for one third of all birth defect-related deaths and sadly 20 percent of children who make it through birth will not survive past their first birthday.

How well can people with congenital heart defects function?

Virtually all children with simple defects survive into adulthood. Although exercise capacity may be limited, most people lead normal or nearly normal lives. Some children with congenital heart disease have developmental delay or other learning difficulties.

Does pediatric heart defect research receive government funding? If so, how much?

For every dollar provided by the national medical funding arm of the American government, the National Institute of Health, only one penny is provided for pediatric research, and only a portion of that penny goes to support research on heart defects, the most common birth defect.

When is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week?

February 7 – 14th is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week, as organized through (The Children’s Heart Information Network). An international coalition of families, individuals, non-profit organizations, support groups, and health professionals participate in a campaign to increase public awareness of Congenital Heart Defects and Childhood Heart Disease. To find out how you can participate in the awareness campaign, log on to Only by speaking out can we be heard and make a difference!

Can my child participate in competitive athletics?

Participation in competitive athletics is a rewarding experience and is an important part of normal adolescent development. However, for some children competitive sports have the potential to end tragically. – Corrada et al (NEJM 1998) reported the incidence of sudden death in adolescents and young adults (12-35yrs.) is 2.3/100,000 athletes/yr. (2.52 in males and 1.07 in females). – Maron (NEJM 2003) estimate the prevalence at ≤0.3%.

Can my child receive a flu vaccination?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for children who are at increased risk of complications from influenza, including: Children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years & children who have a chronic medical condition, such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS or kidney disease.

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Olivia Street

Board Member


Hillary Flores-Berman

Board Member

Aiden Lamar

Board Member

Kelsey McCourt

Board Member

Christopher Camatcho

Board Member


Jayden McCroskey

Board Member

My name is Jayden McCroskey and I am a sophomore in high school. I have two younger siblings, Alivia and Camden. My brother Camden is a heart kid. I am on the Camp LUCK Youth Board because I get the opportunities to make the camp that I fell in love with a better place.

Maggie Cloninger

Youth Board Advisor


Parent LUCK Network

This program matches new heart parents, who are just beginning their journey, with a Parent LUCK Network volunteer, who has a child with similar conditions. The volunteers are eager to listen, provide emotional support and help new heart parents understand that they are not alone. It is our hope, that these volunteers can be an ongoing resource for parents with questions or concerns.

If you are interested in the Parent Support Network, please contact Erin Shaw at

Camp LUCK Closet

Camp LUCK, in conjunction with the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute pediatric office and Novant Pediatric Cardiology, is involved in an ongoing effort to distribute gently-worn clothing and other baby items to heart families in need. The members of Camp LUCK know how incredibly difficult it is to have a very sick child, without the added complication of not being able to provide adequate clothing for that child. In this small way we hope to make a difference in the lives of these very special heart families.

If you have gently-worn or gently-used children’s items that you would like to donate, please contact


Baby LUCK services the families of the youngest members of our heart community (under age 7). Meetings are scheduled on a bi-monthly basis and include entertainment for the kids and activities for the parents. It’s a great opportunity to share experiences about living with CHD.

To receive future communications about Baby LUCK and Baby LUCK events, be sure to sign up for our mailing list.

For more information, contact

Camp LUCK Dinners

Every other month, Camp LUCK hosts a dinner where guest speakers share their experience regarding a host of issues related to the many important facets of CHD health care – cardiology (pediatric and adult) heart surgery, dental care, psychology, nutrition, holistic medicine, education, heart parents and heart kids. We feel that it is important that all of these voices are heard as we work toward our common goal of improving the quality of life for children living with CHD, their parents, and families.

Chase Collins

Board Member

My name is Chase Collins and I am 12 years old.  My sister, Cassidy, has a heart defect. The reason that I love Camp LUCK so much is because of the friends that I have there and the skills that I have learned and been able to teach others. The friends I have made over the years have turned into family and I want others to feel the same way. I joined the Youth Board to be able to support Camp LUCK and make it a better place for all to have this same feeling and process; whether you have a heart condition or not.

Mattie Polen

Board Member

I’m Mattie Polen. I am part of the Camp LUCK Youth Board. I have been part of Camp LUCK for six years and have been on the Youth Board for about three years. I love Camp LUCK and want to help make it as great as it can possibly be.

Kaylin Nolan

Board Member

Hi! My name is Kaylin Nolan and I am one of the new members of the Camp LUCK Youth Board. I am a sibling. I absolutely love Camp LUCK because of the community that has grown from it and how they are always open armed to newcomers. I want to serve on the board because I want to help the people who have made everything that has happened in my family easier. I look forward to meeting everyone and being here to support you.

Seri Paquette

Board Member

Seri Paquette is senior at Southlake Christian Academy. She has loved being on the Youth Board since the beginning because it has allowed her be more involved in Camp LUCK. Seri loves the Camp LUCK community.

Jay Myers

Board Member

Jay Myers is a proud husband and father of two children. He and his family are committed to supporting the interests of heart children through the mission of Camp LUCK. Jay is the SAP Ariba Director of Financial Services for Value Engineering.

Chris McKenzie

Board Member

Chris is the father of three girls – Sarah, Anna and Mary (heart child). He has been a Steering Committee member for Levine Cardiac Kids since its inception and thrilled to be a part of Camp LUCK!

Nicola Roark

Board Member

Nicola Roark is a former production and product development manager from the textile industry. Currently, she works as a teaching assistant with 3rd graders and has two children, Olivia and Camden (heart kid). Camp Luck has been a wonderful support network for the Roark family, and Nicola wants to return that support to others.

Irene Liapis

Board Member

Irene is a REMAX realtor and mother of three children – Maria, Dimitri (HLHS) and Christina.  Outside of family and work, she enjoys playing tennis and golf.  She has been active in her church with youth and local missions.  Irene is very excited now to be part of the Camp LUCK family – so excited that it makes her heart “skip” – for the opportunities and support Camp LUCK provides families like hers!

Sara DeVries

Board Member

Sara serves as the liaison for Baby Luck.  She is a mom of two children, Easton and Adelaide (TOF).  She is proud to serve such an incredible group of heart kids and their families.

Hunter Jackson


Hunter Jackson is a Senior Manager with Grant Thornton LLP, and serves Camp LUCK as the Treasurer.  He has two wild little boys, Gray (heart kid/transplant) and West.  He is thankful for the heart family that Camp LUCK has provided and is proud to give back to such an awesome community of warriors!

Bryon Mulligan


Bryon is a Special Counsel, in the Charlotte office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, specializing in complex commercial lending transactions. Bryon is the proud father of an 11 year old boy with a congenital heart defect.

Kim Jackson

Co-founder & Program Coordinator

Kim is the mother of Jacob (heart child) and McKenzie. She is a former office manager and radiologic technologist. Kim and Jacob were very passionate about raising awareness of congenital heart disease and volunteered many hours together in the congenital heart community. Jacob endured numerous heart surgeries and procedures during his lifetime, but passed away from complications of open heart surgery in December 2010.

Dr. René Herlong

Vice President & Assistant Camp Director

Dr. René is the Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute. He has worked at Camp Cherokee for more than 35 years, currently as Health Care Administrator and formerly as Assistant Camp Director. Dr. Herlong wanted to offer a resident camping experience to his patients and is very excited to have been able to help make this a reality at Camp LUCK.

Adrienne Mauntel


Adrienne is a heart mom and has been an active volunteer with both Levine Cardiac Kids and Camp LUCK since their inception. She has served on both the Board of Directors and Operations Committee of each organization. Adrienne feels honored to act as President of Camp LUCK. She truly believes in the programs that it offers as her family has personally seen the benefits of being a part of this heart community.