Maria Escudero

Maria Escudero

What is your role in Corience? How did you start?

I’ve been a member of the Corience core group since 2007. We coordinate, compose, and deliver reports, articles, comprehensive background features, and other relevant information on a variety of CHD topics.

What is your personal motivation to work for Corience?

My daughter Virginia was born in 1996 with Pulmonary Atresia with intact ventricular septum. Until then, I knew nothing about CHD. But when the diagnosis came that our daughter had a CHD, those three letters became an unavoidable part of our lives. We lived through a nightmare of fear, anxiety, guilt, anguish – the nightmare that all parents of CHD children experience. And suddenly, there was this unexpected glimmer of hope in form of a Parent’s Guide published by the British parents’ association HeartLine. This brochure not only helped us understand what was going on with our daughter, but also showed us that there were many other families in similar situations – and that there was a future. As Spaniards living in London, we initially felt terribly lonely and isolated when we received the news of Virginia’s CHD. But the support and advice we received from HeartLine made us feel part of a new family: the CHD family. For me, working for Corience is like a dream come true, and a perfect way to give back some of the help and support we were so freely given by the British parents’ association.

When did you decide to start working for a CHD organisation?

When my daughter Virginia was around two years old, her father received a good job offer and we decided to move back to Spain. As soon as we arrived in Madrid, I started looking for an association similar to HeartLine, the British parents’ association that gave us such a great support. There was no such an organisation in Madrid.  What I found, though, were many other parents in similar circumstances – so we decided to join forces and found our own organisation for parents of children with CHD. We started at the local level, and our little organisation has now grown into Fundación Menudos Corazones.

Are there any unusual aspects about your life you’d like to share?

Virginia has a marvellous sense of humour. When she first started pre-school, I informed her teacher of her heart condition, and the teacher was visibly intimidated. I tried to assure her of Virginia’s wellbeing, but she remained nervous. One day during school hours, I received a call from the teacher telling me to please come to the school immediately. I rushed over there, almost in a panic, to find Virginia playing with her friends as usual. The teacher, looking pale, took me aside and told me, in a whisper, “Virginia said that her heart hurts.” I called Virginia and asked her to show me where it hurts. Smiling, she pointed to her bellybutton and said: “Here!” The teacher and I both started laughing, and we both learned that we should pay more attention to our children and less to our fears.