EST.D 2007 Suzanne Taylor
Turning Emotion into Art • Red Deer, Alberta •

The Paper Heart Project – CHD Awareness Month | Red Deer & Calgary Photography

Red Deer and Calgary Photographer Suzanne Taylor Photographer participated in the Paper Heart Project

A Broken Heart.

Did you know that 1/100 babies are born with a Congenital Heart Defect or CHD?  Stop and think about that.
Statistically, 1/100 of your friends who have a child could have the news delivered that their child’s heart was broken when it was born.  Stop and think about if it was your child – or maybe it was.

There are many reasons and causes for a child to be born with CHD.  Viral infections, Down Syndrome, DNA and Drug and Alcohol use during pregnancy are the top causes according to the Heart and Stroke Society of Canada.  They also report that survival rates are up 70% in the last 60 years as well thanks to advancements in scientific and medical research.  Amazing.

Inspiration is Everywhere.

For years I staved off Instagram.  I hated it – mostly because I didn’t understand it and it frustrated me that I would see doubles of images I just saw on Facebook ten seconds before.  Why would I double up my friends status images?  What a waste of time hey?  Annoying.

Over the last year and a half though I took my time and became so much more appreciative of what Instagram could do – not only for my business, but also for me.  I started to build an audience and before long I had a handful of people that I would speak to quite often when I posted new images.  Everyone has their fans that always like or comment, but to be honest only a handful of people think of each other when something catches their fancy.  You know what I mean?  You see something that excites you and you think “so and so would really love this” but that is where the thought stops.

The Paper Heart Project.

I have an Instagram friend by the name of Tanya that runs Frog Song Photography and she challenged me to participate in this project I knew very little about.  The Paper Heart Project was an opportunity for the Instagram community to use paper hearts and photograph them with children to bring awareness to CHD.  While we have been extremely fortunate with the health of our children, I have had my share of scares as well my paternal grandfather died from Heart Disease, so it seemed like a really interesting project to take part in.

This photograph represents the Paper Heart Project 100% to me and here is why.

We are all born curled up and perfect (even the c-section babies out there).  Every child grows in their mother’s womb listening to her heart beat.  The baby’s heart grows  as well, learning to beat and strengthening with every contraction – preparing itself for a lifetime of duty.

A broken heart however is always on display.  The second that a child is diagnosed, they become a ‘heart’ and the label is attached to them forever.  From the front, back and sides the heart is seen and talked about by parents, doctors, nurses and specialists – including friends and family.  Maybe the diagnosis is good, but perhaps it is not.

The child’s pose is vulnerable, yet strong as one hand grips to hang on and the other is relaxed to allow medicine to takes its course.  The heart is affixed, it isn’t going anywhere and continues to beat – no matter the bumps, tears and how broken it seems.

The child carries on.


Hope is a subject that has many feeling attached to it.  Hope can be fleeting, but hope can rise you up.  Organizations like the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation exist to provide support to families who are afflicted by CHD as well as all other heart and stroke conditions.  As well, they fundraise to support research to help correct and prevent heart and stroke diseases and events from happening in the first place.

If you can donate even a dollar or two, please do that.  If everyone donated a dollar they would likely not have to fundraise for a very long time and that is a warm happy thought to think about.  If you are so inclined, please follow this safe link to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation support page where Desjarden’s Insurance and the Dairy Farmers of Canada will double your pledge!  Zing!

Wouldn’t it be amazing to use the Paper Heart Project as the launching pad of some amazing fundraising?




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