2015-2016 Mercer Lawrence Heart Ball
2015-2016 Open Your Heart Chair
VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, WERNER CO
With over 27-years of marketing, sales and product development experience in the building products segment, Chris Filardi drives Werner Co.’s key global marketing efforts. He started with Werner in 1999 and currently is responsible for all of Werner’s key marketing functions which include: advertising, brand development, new product launches, merchandising, promotions, online, public relations, and end-user field sales. Chris is based out of the office in Greenville, PA.
Prior to working with Werner, Chris served as Business Unit Manager for Elmer’s Products in Columbus, Ohio. While there he focused on the growth and development of both the Elmer’s and Krazy Glue businesses.
In 2006, at age 43, Chris was diagnosed with a 99% blockage of his LAD artery. He went through a successful double bypass surgery at UPMC in Pittsburgh. Through his recovery, he worked closely with his doctors and relied on information from the American Heart Association to learn more about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle after his surgery. As this year’s Open Heart Chairman, Chris will help to build awareness and raise funds for the American Heart Association that will be 100% committed to heart research.
Chris has been a Hermitage resident since 1999. He has a wife Kimberly, and three children Allison (20), Kevin (18), and Michael (15). Chris graduated from the Penn State University in University Park, PA
2015-2016 Mercer Lawrence Heart Child
“We cannot see all four chambers of her heart” were the words we heard on July 12, 2012. At our follow-up appointment the doctors clarified that our baby has multiple congenital heart defects, at 48 to 96 hours when her ductus arteriosus closes, she will expire. We planned our unborn child’s funeral and tried to keep life “normal” for our daughter, Laci.
During the 36th week of our pregnancy, we had an Echocardiogram followed by a Palliative Care meeting to discuss keeping our unborn daughter comfortable for the estimated two days she would be with us. Shortly after, our Pediatric Cardiologist came in to the room and said, “I can’t explain what I see, but, your child’s Aorta has grown from 10th percentile to normal size and she will be able to have heart surgery.” It took us awhile to understand exactly what he was saying, but he was telling us that our child is going to survive! We began preparing for the greatest miracle of our lives!
On November 16, 2012, Faith Noelle came into the world and was rushed straight to Akron Children’s Hospital. She was beautiful and looked just like her big sister. Faith was born with HLHS (half of a heart), Heterotaxy, Double-Outlet Right ventricle, and a multitude of other diagnoses and was 17 days old when we she had her first heart surgery. The procedure went very well and we were able to bring her home right before Christmas to spend the holidays together. This was a dream that seemed surreal. She had a Pulmonary Artery band inserted to help her breathe and relieve the work load of her heart. However, soon after Faith’s health started to decline, she turned grey due to the lack of oxygenated blood being circulated throughout her body. She was unable to breathe normally with extremely low “pulse ox” readings. Faith was losing weight because she was burning all of her calories breastfeeding and breathing. We were told to not let her cry as it was too much strain on her heart. After researching Pediatric Cardiology hospitals, we contacted Boston Children’s hospital and on April 13, 2013, we traveled for a consult. After her Echo there, the physician said Faith is critical and she needed an open-heart procedure the next day. Faith had a very complicated open heart surgery lasting several hours. Two days later, as she was being extubated, she “flat-lined” while we were at her side. They immediately rushed us out of the room. The surgeon had to reopen her chest with no anesthesia and place her on an ECMO machine even though they did not know what the repercussions would be. This machine pumps re-oxygenated blood outside of her body. The doctor mentioned there is a high probability of brain damage, inability to walk, talk, hear or speak. We would not know until she was extubated.
After several months of being in the ICU, we brought Faith home. She was tethered to an oxygen machine and a pulse ox monitor along with many medications. After two days, we had to rush her to back to Akron; she stopped breathing in the parking lot. Faith had to be flown back to Boston. She had Pneumothorax which means her lungs were filling with the breast milk she was ingesting. Faith had chest tubes placed to drain her lungs, and after a couple more months, we were on our way home. Faith was happy and pleasant with such an amazing personality.
Weeks were passing and we were constantly anxious. Faith still was unable to do physical therapy or any activity that would strain her heart and she continued to lose weight. The doctors wanted to place a G tube to increase her caloric intake. We traveled to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital to have a NG tube placed temporarily until she regained her strength. Again the physicians performed an Echo and told us her heart was too weak to be at home and that she needed a heart transplant. She was given IV medications to help the conduction of her heart. Faith was placed on the transplant list on October 16th at 11 months old. She was taken off two times because she was too sick to receive a heart. On November 20, 2013, four days after her first birthday, Faith had a stroke and this changed everything. Faith was paralyzed on the right side of her body and had uncontrollable seizures. The specific portion of her stroke affected her motor strip in her brain. They were unable to place her back on the Transplant List until she had a heart catheterization to see if she was still able to accept a heart transplant. However, they were unable do a heart cath because she was not strong enough.
Fast forward several months and on January 25, 2014 (101 days of being listed), we received “THE CALL” that there was a heart available for Faith. After her transplant procedure, as we walked in and saw her tiny little lips and fingers, they had gone from being dusky gray, to pink and the tubes and wires did not hide her beauty. ! Faith was the size of a 4 month old at 14 months of age when she received her gift of life from an angel.
I am so happy to say Faith is now an almost three-year-old beautiful, smart, amazing, overcomer who has lived the impossible! She just kept fighting and beat all odds! If you want to see a modern-day miracle, take a look at Faith!
Saturday, February 6, 2016
47 Vine Avenue
Sharon, PA 16146
6:00 pm Hor d'oeuvres & Silent Auction begins
7:30 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Live Auction begins
8:30 pm 2nd Avenue Project Band