HeartGift provides life-saving congenital heart defect surgery to children from around the world where specialized medical treatment is either scarce or nonexistent. Established in 2000, the foundation has served more than 400 patients, in over 34 countries.
1 in 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect, making it the most common type of birth defect. Congenital heart diseases are approximately 60 times more prevalent than a childhood cancer diagnosis. Many of these children never make it to their next birthday. HeartGift was founded to address this disparity of care.
“I give, so children from all over the world have the chance to grow up healthy and just be kids again.”
– Bret Sanders, Houston Board Member
The vision of HeartGift is a world where children born with congenital heart defects have access to the surgical repair they need regardless of where they live.
The need continues to increase our mission impact in an effort for these children to receive medical interventions for the congenital heart defect, yet the organization’s capacity to provide surgeries remains at capacity.
In 2017, HeartGift helped fund a medical mission trip to Bolivia. Dr. Breinholt, a pediatric cardiologist and Dr. Douglas, a pediatric surgeon from our partner hospital, Children’s Memorial Hermann, led a team of doctors, nurses and staff members on the trip. Although Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas the day the team had planned to leave for Bolivia, it didn’t stop them. With airports and transportation shut down, and a small delay, the team embarked on quite the journey. Nonetheless, the team persevered and completed a successful mission by saving the lives of 21 children in a 10-day period. Efforts like this prove our strategy to expand the mission impact.
“Involving HeartGift in the trip to Bolivia has provided the support and organization to stabilize an effort that was often difficult to sustain from year to year. The feedback has been instrumental in helping map out future improvements and sustainability for this medical mission. Twenty one children now have a brighter future and we couldn’t have done it without HeartGift.”
HeartGift’s purpose is to provide the necessary surgery including funds, coordination of care, and medical services for children with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) living in countries where specialized medical treatments is scare or nonexistent. Established in June of 2000, HeartGift began its work in Austin, Texas and now has additional service locations in Dallas, Houston, Louisiana, and San Antonio. HeartGift has now served over 400 children and families from 34 countries.
How HeartGift Works
Around the world, HeartGift has forged partnerships with non-governmental organizations to enable patient referrals. Participating organizations offer medical diagnosis and care, and sometimes travel coordination.
All participating physicians and medical partners contribute 100% of their professional fees and services resulting in $8 million of in-kind contributions in 2016.
HeartGift staff and volunteers coordinate travel and temporary housing arrangements, meals, translator services, entertainment and other needs. Typically, a HeartGift child and parent will stay in the United States four to five weeks. In 2016, HeartGift children benefited from more than 32,000 hours of volunteer service hours during their stay.
You can help us save lives
With your support we will continue to save precious lives, one HeartGift at a time.