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(WGHP) – Every phrase in Amir Alexander’s children’s book is a reminder to recognize the positive even during life’s toughest times.
The book “Gio’s Heart” was born from a journey initially filled with joy.
Alexander recalls the excitement she and her husband felt when they learned they were expecting twins.
“It was shock, surprise, happiness, joy, two for one, so we were happy,” she said.
However, parents would soon learn that challenges awaited them.
“Somewhere in the second trimester they were doing an ultrasound, and there were a few breaks with the B twin, Gianni, and at that point I kind of knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t sure what it was,” she mentioned.
They were referred to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.
Gianni, affectionately known as Gio, has been diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) – a birth defect that affects the blood circulating in the heart and being pumped to the rest of the body.
Her parents had hoped that a series of surgeries would manage her condition, but that too would come with some disappointing news.
“During his delivery, he didn’t get enough oxygen to his brain during that delivery, which caused bleeding and other issues, and that’s about where the turn came,” Alexander said.
Gio fought for eight months and three weeks. He passed away on Mother’s Day 2020.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it, but I also appreciate the lessons we learned while we were there,” Alexander said.
On the second anniversary of Gio and his older twin brother Jaden, Alexander was ready to share the lessons of togetherness, kindness and appreciation learned from Gio’s journey by penning “Gio’s Heart.”
“We hope that when audiences see stories like ‘Gio’s Heart’, it helps, first of all, to build empathy and understanding for what our families are going through. Beyond that, we hope this take awareness will lead to increased funding for scientific research and educational programs and may ultimately help improve outcomes for the patients we care for,” said Brenner Children’s Hospital cardiologist Dr. Michael Walsh.
“I know we are going through something difficult, but it can always be worse. Just find the positive and just start being grateful for those things that are positive,” Alexander said.
“Gio’s Heart” can be purchased at Gio-Strong.com or through Amazon.