Photography by Rita Jana Photography
Meet Jack. He is Beauty Revived.
“Something doesn’t look quite right with his heart” was what Jack’s parents heard during a routine ultrasound. After several more ultrasounds, fetal echocardiograms, and consultations with pediatric cardiologists and pediatric heart surgeons, it was determined that he had multiple heart defects. Jack was born in 2008 and his multiple congenital heart defects required a minimum of three open heart surgeries. While doing research and spending many weeks at the local children’s hospital, Jack’s parents, Rob & Kristen Mitchell, quickly realized that a lot of research went into the life-saving procedures he was receiving. They wanted to be more involved with the organizations that were funding the research. Research that’s being done in allowing children like Jack to live is really advancing the world. If people weren’t willing to fund that kind of developmental research, advanced procedures that Jack’s had or is going to have wouldn’t exist.
Jack’s mom reached out to the American Heart Association in Kansas City and asked what they could do to get involved and raise awareness and money for CHD research. The American Heart Association-Midwest Affiliate met Jack and asked him to be an ambassador. Many people don’t realize that heart disease affects children, too. “The American Heart Association raises money for life-saving pediatric research. It’s important for children like Jack, who has undergone multiple heart surgeries for a congenital defect, to raise awareness that heart disease can affect anyone at any time”, said Angie Galindo, Senior Vice President of Development for the American Heart Association.
Jack had the opportunity to share his story and serve as the king of the Leavenworth, KS Heart Walk. When walk officials asked all survivors to come together for a picture, two year old Jack was surrounded by all adults. Next, Jack travelled to many local elementary schools to promote the Jump Rope for Heart event. He shared his story to let the students know they were raising money for little kids like him. In 2012, Jack was asked to be the guest of honor at the annual Kansas City Heart and Stroke Ball. Jack and his parents shared his story to raise awareness and money for crucial pediatric research.
Not only is Jack a “heart kid”, but he is also a “military brat”. Jack and his family relocated to Kentucky and once again contacted the American Heart Association to see how they could help. The American Heart Association of Kentuckiana asked Jack to be the king of the Louisville Heart Walk and share his journey with others. He also continued to visit local elementary schools, including his own, to promote the Jump Rope for Heart event.
Last year, West Point, NY became Jack’s home for the next couple of years. He was surprised to learn that his school did not participate in Jump Rope for Heart. He asked his physical education teacher if their school could participate and she willingly agreed. Jack knows how important the American Heart Association is. He knows he’s here because of the research they have funded. However, he doesn’t quite realize that the money he’s helping to raise right now is funding research that is creating procedures and medicine that he will need someday.
In addition to the American Heart Association, Jack collects items for the local Ronald McDonald House every year. He and his family resided at the Ronald McDonald House multiple times and are grateful for the services they offer families of sick children. Each year for his birthday, in lieu of birthday gifts, he collects non-perishable food and consumable items for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. When Jack isn’t raising money for the American Heart Association or collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House, you can find him surrounded by his legos! In honor of Jack, “start today with a grateful heart.”
About the Photographer
Rita Ann Jana is the owner of Rita Jana Photography based out of West Point, New York and the Hudson Valley area. She is married to a handsome man in uniform and has three children. Rita Ann specializes in photographing children, families, and high school seniors. She is honored to be working with Beauty Revived again.