• Greg Olsen-backed program continues to help children with heart defects

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    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Carolina Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen and his wife helped a multimillion-dollar program at Levine Children’s Hospital more than a year ago and it is flourishing.

    The HEARTest Yard, which helps children who have congenital heart defects, is one of only a few of its kind in the country.

    The program is designed to meet the behavioral and educational challenges that children born with heart defects can face over their lifetime.

    Doctors prepare parents before their child is born.

    The baby will likely face surgery before he or she turns 1 year old and, and while recovering, the baby can miss out on important developmental opportunities.

    “We know that when the children get to school age, some of them can have learning disabilities,” said Dr. Nancy Dobrolet, director of the Cardiac Neurodevelopment Program. “They can have attention problems. We just want them to thrive and be the best they can possibly be.”

    [Greg Olsen backs program to help children with heart defects]

    The program is still in the beginning stages.

    “I love his care team,” mother Jennifer Winchell said. “(It) has been amazing from the moment he was born to now.”

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