We had the absolute pleasure and joy of helping the Pilkinton family sell their home in Bellevue this year and make a move to a larger home in Brentwood. If you get to spend anytime with them, you get to experience the faith and love that is at the core of this family. We know that their story makes them incredibly unique and the tenacious way they approach life is contagious. Grab a tissue and read along with our interview with Linda Pilkinton, mother of two beautiful boys, event planner extraordinaire and founder of Bright Heart Foundation.
1. How awesome is your family and your boys?
They are my whole world. It’s like I didn’t see color until they joined the picture that is my life. Clint and I have been together for 10 years now. We have two sons. Charlie is 4 years old. Luke is 3 years old.
2. For those reading who don’t know, can you give us CHD in layman’s terms?
Congenital Heart Defects/ Disease (CHD) kills 2x as many babies as all forms of childhood cancer combined. Every 15 minutes, a baby is born with CHD in the U.S. That’s 40,000 a year! There are 40 different types of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). CHD is a lifelong battle for many children as there currently is no cure.
3. We are going to link to the video of Luke’s story here but share a little bit about Luke and his story.
Watch Luke’s story here:
Back in 2017, sixteen weeks into their pregnancy, Linda and Clint Pilkinton heard the news; their baby would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a rare congenital defect in which a part of the infant’s heart is underdeveloped or not there at all. The disease currently affects about 960 babies each year in the United States.
The news that their baby would be born with “half a heart” was devastating, leaving the couple feeling “helpless and hopeless,” and resulting in a very stressful pregnancy.
Born on December 21, 2017, Luke Pilkinton has already endured two open-heart surgeries and will require further surgery when he reaches three years of age.
Clint and Linda Pilkinton established the Bright Heart Foundation not only to anchor all-important research efforts, but, by sharing their own story, to raise awareness and offer hope and support to those families dealing with the everyday challenges of CHD.
“Our first-hand experience has taught us that one of the most important tools for healing the sick, and to support their families and physicians, is to keep their hope alive,” Linda says. “Without genuine support and love from those around them, healing can be less successful for those precious infants who are struggling to survive.”
4. Tell us the story about creating Bright Heart Foundation
We realized that not enough people knew about CHD and that we had to help. We had to jump in face first and help the babies, families, and the care team members fill in any gaps of support and advocacy wherever we could.
5. What is the mission and purpose of Bright Heart Foundation and the work that they do?
Bright Heart Foundation advocates for and supports children and their families living with the challenges of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) while also providing support for the physicians who treat them.
6. Such an incredible organization. Clough Team Realty does not take it lightly that we have had two very special clients who have children with HLHS. What are ways that we and others reading can support Bright Heart Foundation?
Please donate to BrightHeartFoundation.org. Your monies will help support our programs.
Bright Heart Foundation Raises Money For CHD Research
+ Our Three Programs
Provide support tools to doctors and nurses to use for their inpatient babies and children crucial to keeping their spirits elevated during their months/years of hospital stays as they fight to survive CHD. Like blankets, toys, pacifiers, etc.
Provide developmental support equipment to the inpatient and outpatient healthcare team in OT, PT, and Speech Therapy to use for patients as they work to reach their full ability potential and thrive. Like special therapy chairs, therapy benches, motivational and learning toys, etc.
Provide mental health care to those living with CHD, family members that care for those with CHD, and CHD healthcare providers. We have formed an alliance with AGAPE Nashville to provide licensed therapy to those fighting this disease.
7. I think this year has made us so incredibly grateful for our front line workers. Those nurses and doctors who selflessly give of themselves and work tirelessly to take care of our loved ones. But the truth is they’ve been the superheroes all along. What is one of your favorite stories from your time in the hospital with Luke or one of your favorite people?
We have an amazing care team out of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. The nurses, doctors, surgeons, sonographers, therapists, and beyond feel like family now as we have endured so much for our boy, Luke, together. I whole-heartedly trust them with the care of Luke and believe in BRIGHTer days for Congenital Heart Disesase/ Defects (CHD).
8. And last question because I am already dreaming of summer in these cold winter temperatures. Summer of 2020 was hindered in a way by COVID-19, so do your boys have big plans for this upcoming summer?
Luke’s next invasive procedure is his heart catheterization on February 10th. This will let us know when his next open-heart surgery will happen this year. It is possible that it will be almost immediate. We hope to get beyond this next surgery and be able to soak up some summer fun once we are in the clear medically.