Diagnosed in utero with a congenital heart condition, Kade Hannan spent the first four months of life in Hopkins Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). By the time he was 4, he had had four open heart surgeries at Hopkins.

As the parent of a critically ill child, says Kade’s mother Angie Hannan, you learn that “you don’t sit there and lick your own wounds. You just keep going, for your child, for yourself and for others you might be able to comfort along the way. There’s always someone at Hopkins Children’s who has it much worse than you, and some child more in need.”

 HEAR KADE AT RADIOTHON 2010

To help others, as their own son grows and thrives, the Hannans raised more than $16,000 in 2008 with a Swim-a-Thon at a local pool for a fund in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology to help patient families in times of desperate need – whether with the purchase of meals or a hotel room.  In the Towson, Md., area pool, Kade, then 4, dog-paddled for the cause. His older sister Margo swan more than 70 laps. The family’s involvement in fundraising continues.

“We want to help other families who are now in the same boat,” says Angie Hannan. “We got through it all, sustained by the very supportive community of unlimited compassion and understanding at Hopkins.

Kade, now a swimmer, shares his early-life diagnosis of Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect and most common cause of blue baby syndrome, with another young athlete: U.S. Olympic snowboarder Shaun White, who had two open-heart surgeries before the age of 1.