Extra Credit for Cora

As I was planning my classes for this fall–intro to human biology–I had a great idea. Always thinking about Cora, I decided to get my students involved. I  have about 140 students… if they all know about Cora and go tell their families and friends–actually, if they even only tell 1 person! Look at how many people are now that much more educated and aware.

It was WAY harder than I thought.

I wrote “C.H.D.” on the board. No one knew what it was. I explained that it means congenital heart defect, told them what some of the defects could be, and that it affects 1 in 100 people. I heard lots of “wows” across the room. They were amazed that it’s SO COMMON, yet they hadn’t heard of it. Tell me about it.

I wrote “www.corasstory.org” so they could read it for themselves. Then I gave a brief overview on Cora. I was shaking. I was sweating. I took a lot of long pauses. I think it made for an awkward moment because my students didn’t know how to react. And they didn’t know if I was about to burst into tears. I urged them to check out the website to see the amazing things Cora’s parents have done and to get more information on the cause.

Then, I told them they had a chance for extra credit. Once a month, on the 30th. I said: 1) wear pink for Cora (and showed them my pink bracelet that never comes off). 2) tell someone about CHD and 3) do a random act of kindness. I explained some of the things Cora’s parents have done. I told them they could simply call an old friend, buy coffee for the person in line behind them, buy their mom flowers…. anything!

I realize not everyone owns pink, so I gave them the option to do 2 of the 3 things for extra credit. Two of my classes are on Tues. and Thurs. so I won’t see them the 30th of this month. But they still get to participate, they just write down for me what they did and turn it in sometime. Honor system.

I had one student tell me her son was born with 6 CHDs. SIX. He is now 2.5 years old and only has 2 left. And luckily, he hasn’t needed any surgeries. I asked how and when they detected it and she said right away–he was born by c-section and was breathing REALLY fast.. so they did a pulse oximetry test and it was at 60 (I think that’s what she said). I believe it should be at 90 or above? Ryan’s was 92.

I had another mother come up to me and tell me she wants to participate and help out, but she doesn’t want any extra credit for it. How sweet is that? Her son was born with a heart murmur that they have to check him once a year, but at the time, they weren’t sure what it was and were really scared. Today yet another student came up and told me that she told her friend, who is 8 months pregnant, about it and said she’d be getting her baby a pulse ox test after birth. Win.

I think it really touched a lot of the students. I have many mothers and fathers in my classroom.

Cora is saving lives.

(I love my job.)

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