Girl fundraising for Heart Association
"I like helping," said Jade, a softspoken, hazel-eyed girl who lives in Port Aransas. "I like the doctor shows on TV. It makes me feel like I should be a doctor, to help other kids."
Medicine is on Jade's mind a lot. She has heart disease, a condition that requires restrictions on her activities, plus daily medication and the possibility of heart surgery some day.
She can't be a doctor yet, so Jade is helping others with heart disease with a series of fundraisers for the American heart Association. She already has held three garage sales and two bake sales.
Her next bake sale will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, at the Family Center IGA, 416 S. Alister St. All of the money will go to the Heart Association, to be used for research, Jade's family said.
Jade is the daughter of Kevin and Connie Mouton. The family moved to Port Aransas from Victoria three years ago. Connie is the general manager at the Best Western Ocean Villa on Avenue G. Kevin is foreman at a landscaping business in Portland.
Jade first was diagnosed with heart problems at the age of 3. Connie Moulton said she knew previously that there was a history of heart conditions on her side of the family, so she had six of her eight children checked out by physicians. (Doctors told her the youngest two didn't need the examination yet, she said.)
Four of the Mouton children, including Jade, were discovered to have heart problems. Three of the kids' problems ranged from minor to moderate, but Jade's was found to be severe, Connie Moulton said.
Jade takes a blood pressure pill every day. She can do most things other children do. She rough-houses with her brothers and sisters. She rollerskates. She likes video games, especially the one with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Her parents try not to restrict her too much, but they have to make sure she doesn't get too hot or too cold, because it could be bad for her heart. That means she can't get too much exercise. She also has to stay away from sports that could result in a hard blow to the chest. And she can't lift things that are too heavy.
Jade said she worries occasionally about her heart disease.
"Sometimes," she said. "Like when they say I could go in to have surgery for my heart."
But she hasn't let her condition get her down much.
"Overall, I think she is OK," Connie Moulton said. "She gets a lot of family support. We have a very close-knit family, and I think she is a real upbeat kind of kid. Not a lot gets her down."
Jade's efforts to raise money for the American Heart Association has been inspiring, her family says.
Explains Jade: "I guess I want to try to help other kids … and since I have a heart problem, (fundraising for the Heart Association) probably would be a good thing to do."
Jade sets high goals for herself. For example, when she works with her grandmother, Sandy Wolff, to make goodies for bake sales, they end up baking dozens and dozens of pastries, at Jade's insistence.
"She's stubborn," Connie Moulton said. "She's very strong-willed, and I really think that's why she's not going to have issues later in life with her heart. She's determined."