South Georgia Medical Center is raising awareness about pediatric heart defects and disease through a new local support group, Mended Little Hearts. As the first organization in the state to charter a Mended Little Hearts program, SGMC hopes to provide families in Valdosta and surrounding areas with the support they need to face the challenge of ca¬¬ring for a sick child. On Wednesday, February 1 at 5pm, an informational, start-up meeting will be held in Dining Rooms One and Two at SGMC. This meeting will give interested participants information about the program and will feature pediatric cardiologist, William A. Lutin, MD, PhD from Georgia Health Sciences University/Medical College of Georgia, who will talk with families and caregivers about new research and studies being conducted on pediatric heart defects. SGMC Nursery Nurse Manager and Mended Little Hearts coordinator Cathy Swilley, RN said, “As a mother with a child who has a heart defect, it’s been difficult to watch her go through this challenge, and it’s been even more difficult finding someone to talk with who can relate to what we’re going through as a family. I believe this Mended Little Hearts program will be a great way for families to connect with one another to share life experiences as well as provide a shoulder to lean on if necessary.” Mended Little Hearts is a program of the Mended Hearts, Inc., a non-profit organization that has been providing support to heart patients and their families since 1951. Mended Little Hearts works to provide hope, help and healing to families and caregivers of children with heart defects through peer-to-peer support and educational programs. For more information about the Mended Little Hearts program please contact Cathy Swilley at 229-259-4270.