Nathan’s Prayer is a site for families and friends who wish to show their love and support for children with congenital heart defects. It is named for my son, a precocious boy who was born with Scimitar Syndrome, a rare heart condition with traits that include dextrocardia, pulmonary hypoplasia, and Partial Anomalous Pulmonary Venus Return.

In the days before July 25, 2006, I wrote a simple child’s prayer for him, which he recited often as his heart surgery approached. I know that catch in the throat, that sting in the eyes, that plea from the heart which comes when placing a child in the hands of surgeons.

I also know that it’s easy to get derailed, to find yourself “losing it” as you’re hit with stormy circumstances.  Gathering information and finding healthy ways to cope are an essential part of holding on to your sanity in the midst of a child’s serious health crisis.

In the July 2010 issue of Parents Magazine, I touch on the difficulty of holding onto joy when you know your child faces tough circumstances in “Nathan’s Wonder Slide.”  If you missed it, you can read the online version at

Is your family faced with this kind of challenge?  I would love to hear from you.

By the way, Nathan is doing great!

Karen Blakeney

P.S.:  Here are a few posts that tell a little about our story:  Nathan’s Prayer, Dr. Bove, Before the Back Surgery, The Principle of Finders Keepers, Body Cast.


If you have a child scheduled for heart surgery, these posts may be helpful:  What do I tell my child about his congenital heart defect?, Remembering C. S. Mott:  Nathan Wakes Up After Heart Surgery, Nathan’s Prayer:  Three Year Anniversary, What will a 5-year-old remember about heart surgery?, Franklin Goes to the Hospital, and Walk on Water.

Sylvie and Sydney

Have you been given the heartbreaking news that your child will not survive? Take a look at posts by Sylvie Stephens, a young mother who lost her daughter in September of 2009:  Pray for Sydney, A Sad Update, Strength, Nurse Angels, Kisses, Letting Go, Birthday, A Better Place.

Or go to her column, Ask Sylvie. She would be happy to answer questions and share supportive advice.


And finally, this is my personal testimony:
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