I raced home from work today (it was SUPER cold today so that's why I ran), turned on the computer as soon as I got inside and found out something so sad.
Steve Catoe, always known as the one with the "Funky Heart" passed away at the age of 44 years old. He was one of the oldest Congenital Heart Defect survivors and had Tricuspid Atresia, the exact same condition that our Natalie has.
He passed away sometime last night into the early morning hours and from what I've read, I think he passed away while sleeping.
I have to admit, I'm pretty upset about this news. He was one of my favorite people, CHD-related or not, he was a cool dude.
He wrote daily on his blog, "Adventures of a Funky Heart" and always had something interesting to say. I can speak at least for myself when I say that Steve informed me of many things concerning CHD that I would have never been aware of otherwise. He was such an awesome writer.
I loved watching his speeches through YouTube and I loved his surprising southern accent even more.
He would get choked up while speaking to other CHD survivors and families about how he almost didn't make it when he was traveling to have his first open heart surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Once again, another neat connection that I felt with Steve- he had open heart surgery at the same hospital that saved Natalie.
You could tell he was a genuine and real human being. He was comfortable with speaking and writing about his heart and you could tell that he wanted to put it out there to help someone else.
He was the one to tell me to watch Natalie's salt intake, for example. A lesson that I still stick with to this day. That's just a tiny example of how he helped my family.
Steve was a member of the Adult Congenital Heart Association and helped to advocate a better quality of life for adult CHD survivors and helped spread awareness.
Steve, you touched the lives of so many. You will always remain one of my biggest heroes. You allowed me to feel more comfortable with Natalie's condition, something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Love ya dude. Remain funky.