Carolina Strong: Parents collect plush toys through nonprofit for kids with heart defects

CHARLOTTE — February is American Heart Month, a time for all of us to focus on cardiovascular health. One local family views this month as an opportunity to raise awareness about congenital heart defects.

They also used it as a way to collect some very special items they say are close to their hearts.

Trevor and Erin Shipman said their son Luke was born with a large hole in his tiny heart.

“That’s the most really devastating thing that’s ever happened in my life in that moment, and going through it, you know, the days are long, and anything you can get from anybody to let you know that you’re not alone. It just means the world to you,” Trevor Shipman explained.

One item that helped the parents feel a little less scared and alone was a small stuffed animal attached to a pacifier known as the WubbaNub.

“One of his nurses, who is super, super special to us to this day, Jodie, bought him a WubbaNub, a little giraffe to like snuggle with while he was in the NICU. He was really, really sick because of his heart. And it brought him so much comfort,” said Erin Shipman.

After two months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a successful surgery for Luke, the Shipmans decided to give back.

“So we came up with Luke’s Wubs, which is the nonprofit organization that we started for him,” Erin Shipman explained.

>> How they use the WubbaNubs to help other children in the community, in the video at the top of the page.

Every day, there are people across the Carolinas doing extraordinary things. They’re giving back, they’re helping each other, and they’re making a real difference. We’re highlighting the best in our community in our series, Carolina Strong.

Know somebody who’s making a positive impact? Let us know here.

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