B.R. father launches online 'hub' for parents of children with heart defects

B.R. father launches online 'hub' for parents of children with heart defects

When Jared Broussard and his wife, Rikki, learned their unborn child would enter the world with a congenital heart defect in 2007, he immediately began looking online to learn as much as he could about the condition and options for the best treatment.

"I went to all these hospital websites, which had a ton of great medical information, but there was nothing that was more like a hub or centralized platform where you could interact with other families that had gone through what we were about to," says Broussard, whose son, Jonathan, will turn 5 in March. "I started thinking, there's got to be something better out there."

Today—in conjunction with the start of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week—Broussard is launching Heartwaves.org, a website he hopes will become that one-stop shop he was looking for in 2007.

"I want it to be a complete resource for families like mine, so they can go to one centralized location and get all the medical information they're looking for and connect with families who have experienced or are experiencing the same thing," he says.

Along with all the information it makes available, the site also has a portal allowing parents to privately share information about their child's condition and progress with family and friends.

The website's Baton Rouge connections go beyond Broussard. The site was designed by his friend, Andy Gutowski, of Object 9, while the coding and functionality were done by Logan Leger of another local firm, New Aperio. Four of the site's current 42 bloggers are also from Baton Rouge.

Louisiana first lady Supriya Jindal is also a supporter of the site and Broussard's mission. One of the Jindals' three children was born with a congenital heart defect.

"Bobby and I experienced the same fear and uncertainty that many other families face when receiving their child's diagnosis," Jindal says in a prepared statement. "By providing insight from the medical community, as well as from parents who have faced a similar struggle, Heartwaves.org is sure to be a reliable resource and guiding light for families."

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