In the first installment of our Interview Series we will be looking at an inspirational foundation, The Emerson Rose Heart Foundation. Their mission is to change the future for those affected by congenital heart defects by providing support to families in need, advancing patient care and medical research, and increasing awareness about the most common birth defect in the world. Aptus Bioreactors shares in the Foundation’s goals to promote the advancement of heart valve research, with the hopes of one day finding a life-long solution to congenital heart defects.
Jason and Susan Smith began their journey with congenital heart defects during the pregnancy of their first child. About halfway through their pregnancy with Emerson, they found out that she had a pretty severe heart defect that would require immediate open heart surgery when she was born. To give her the best shot at life, she was born in Charleston, SC, four hours away from the Smith’s family and friends, where they stayed for two and half months. Due to their relationship with the Lord and the support of mere strangers, who have since become friends, they were able to remain strong in their fight.
After being in the hospital for so many months, they became increasingly aware of the hurt within so many other families like theirs, not just emotionally, but spiritually and financially. While they were still suffering, they began sharing their testimony and praying for the community at the hospital, which only grew their desire to give back. Shortly after Emerson’s passing, they began the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation to help support families financially and emotionally, as well as support quality improvement and research projects in hospitals in the South Carolina area. When asked how they found the courage to pursue something like this Susan Smith responded “It is only the Lord, there is no way we could have accomplished this on our own.”
Eight years later, the Smith’s have grown their family to include two beautiful daughters who share in their desire to serve others through the Emerson Rose Foundation. They have since expanded their reach internationally by serving children in developing countries who have heart defects in need of repair. They provide travel expenses for the child, parent, and an interpreter to come to the US to receive lifesaving heart surgery that is otherwise not available to them. The Smith’s spend this time sharing the gospel with these families with the goal of “seeing the word go forth in all nations.”
If you would like to support the foundation in any way, they are always looking for volunteers at different Connect Events. One of the biggest events, which in turn requires the most volunteers, is the Golf Tournament on October 25, 2019 at Smith Fields Country Club in Easley, SC. Please join Aptus Bioreactors and the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation in supporting families suffering from congenital heart defects.
By: Madeline Blankenship