Jon Ritchings, Jr.
Jon Ritchings, Jr. is a 42-year-old father who was born with pulmonary atresia and a small but functional right ventricle. He has had three open-heart surgeries and over 30 cardiac catheterizations. Thus he has had a repaired valve, a replaced valve, part of his heart removed and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or ICD placed in his heart to make his heart beat. In his time he has had more than a few opportunities to advocate for his own health. More recently, in 2013, he attended an Advocacy Day function in Washington, D.C. representing not only himself, but others in the CHD community. He has also written letters to his Congressmen and Senators. He uses his personal Facebook page to promote CHD awareness and also shows how he lives a “normal” life. He monitors a Facebook group called Adult CHD Patients Answering CHD Parents’ Questions. Its aim is to help parents understand what it’s like growing up with a CHD and to help them advocate for their children’s health.