Surgeons of Hope’s COVID-19 Response – The Invincible Heart Guides Us Through the Shadows

For all of us, the past few months have been incredibly challenging as we have learned to navigate life in a global pandemic. In a matter of days, Surgeons of Hope’s plans for 2020 were turned upside down as COVID-19 began to spread rapidly throughout the world, and threaten the wellbeing of our pediatric cardiac programs and the patients and families we serve in Latin America. 

Such an unprecedented situation requires an unprecedented response, and at Surgeons of Hope we responded exactly that way! The strength of any organization, indeed its relevance, depends upon its ability to meet the needs presented by any given situation with creativity, efficiency and collaboration. Now, as the crisis continues to evolve at a serious but somewhat more manageable pace, I’d like to share with you several areas of COVID 19’s impact on SoH and our organization’s responses to them thus far:

  • PRIORITIES: The safety of our staff, partners, healthcare workers, patients and volunteers is our top priority. Our team in New York City has been working remotely since mid-March and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. 
  • PROGRAMMING: As the coronavirus has impacted each of our country’s programs (Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Paraguay), our surgical missions have been temporarily halted. Abiding by local government requirements to suspend activities in local communities so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19, international travel has been suspended as well. This has disrupted the carefully-planned timeline for SoH’s 2020 medical outreach and overseas ICU nurse trainings. 
  • PARTNERSHIPS: COVID-19 has been devastating for the poor families we serve as their livelihoods and safety nets were already very fragile. We have remained in close contact with our international partners in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Paraguay to understand how we can best support them during this uncertain time. In early April, Dr. Nancy Garay, Head of Cardiology at the Acosta Ñu Children’s Hospital in San Lorenzo, Paraguay reached out to us with an urgent need. What initially was a request for food rapidly morphed into a comprehensive COVID-19 response, including food, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and medication. With the generous support of the SoH community, $10,430 was quickly raised to help patients served by SoH, and other poor children in need. With the unceasing efforts of Dr. Garay, care packages were distributed to over 50 families both inside and outside of the Acosta Ñu Children’s hospital. This fast and practical response in the midst of a crisis — unfolding in real time — enabled our cardiac patients and their families to remain healthy!

    Last month, partnering with CEPIA, SoH helped 30 families in Guanacaste — the second poorest region in Costa Rica – with care packages containing 30 days’ worth of food and cleaning supplies. Many of the recipients of these care packages were children who had undergone open-heart surgery at the Children’s Hospital SoH partners with in San José. Such collaboration has been the driving force of Surgeons of Hope since our beginning in 2001. This is how we work! 

Dr. Garay giving food and hygiene supplies to Elena and her family in Paraguay.
Brianna, who is awaiting heart surgery, happily receives a one-month care package delivered to her home in Costa Rica.
  • PROGRESS: Our efforts to feed our patients and their families continues in Nicaragua as we see that there is nothing normal about our "new normal." At Surgeons of Hope, we pride ourselves on our ability to pivot and provide for those we serve. But, we also know that heart disease is not taking a break, and that our mission of helping children with heart disease is more important than ever. While we wait for the lifting of global travel restrictions, we are working with our partners to find ways to support them remotely. Due to COVID-19, they are facing a severe shortage of supplies (such as specialized sutures for open heart surgery) and medication that will keep babies born with congenital heart disease alive long enough to undergo surgery. To ensure children can continue to receive the life-saving heart surgery they need, we are launching a new campaign – with a $15,000 goal – to help provide these critical supplies and medication.

Thank you for continuing to support the patients we serve! We are moving forward with optimism, resilience and gratitude as the invincible hearts of the Surgeons of Hope community guides us through the shadows. 

Surgeons of Hope’s 7th Annual Charity Gala – A Resounding Success!

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to our 7th Annual Charity Gala. With your generous support, we raised nearly $240,000 for babies and children in need of lifesaving heart surgery.

On October 15th, dedicated donors joined with philanthropists and dignitaries for a fun-filled night at Essex House in New York City, celebrating and supporting the work of Surgeons of Hope. The night included both a silent and live auction with items donated by generous friends and merchants, and a paddle raise led by our energetic Heart Ambassador, Diego Luna, who has done so much to promote our message of healthy hearts for all in Latin America and in the entertainment industry. Both Diego Luna and Maurice Levy of the Publicis Groupe, one of our earliest and most ardent supporters, were honored for their contributions. Jean Shafiroff, noted philanthropist, activist, writer and long-time supporter of our organization served as chair for the event and lent immeasurably to its success.

Among the evening’s highlights was a performance by junior dancers of Baila Conmigo, a high energy Latin Dance group. Their performance was a joyful reminder of what children are capable of when they have a strong and healthy heart. Sponsors of the event include: Publicis Health, Marina B, Full Circle, SOMA, and Acker. We thank them wholeheartedly for their support and belief in our mission!

For more pictures of the evening click here.

7th Annual Charity Gala on Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Surgeons of Hope Foundation will host its 7th Annual Charity Gala on Tuesday, October 15th, 2019. The Gala will be held at the iconic JW Marriott Essex House in New York City.

JW Marriott Essex House New York

JW Marriott Essex House New York

We invite you to join us for an evening of delicious French cuisine and exquisite wine pairings as we honor Diego Luna, Surgeons of Hope Heart Ambassador and famed actor and star of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Narcos, and Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe, longtime supporter and trusted partner of Surgeons of Hope.

This year’s charity gala is chaired by Jean Shafiroff, philanthropist and author, whose commitment to our life-saving work has been integral to our success in recent years.

All proceeds from the charity event will finance Surgeons of Hope’s work and mission, “To create a world in which every infant and child with a damaged heart has an equal opportunity to receive life-saving surgery.”

For event information, ticket purchases and sponsorship opportunities, click here.

Jean Shafiroff

Jean Shafiroff, philanthropist and author


Diego Luna, Actor

Diego Luna, Actor


Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe

Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe

Win a Trip to Mexico City with SoH Heart Ambassador Diego Luna

We have partnered with Diego Luna, SoH Heart Ambassador, to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget! Diego Luna is an actor and filmmaker who stars in the Netflix hit series Narcos and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

You and a companion could be flown out to Mexico City, stay in a 4-star hotel, and join Diego for an extraordinary dining experience at Pujol, one of the best restaurants in the world. At dinner, you will get to know Diego over a tequila tasting and seven-course meal! You will also have the chance to go on a private tour with a personal driver so that you can explore all that Mexico City has to offer.

All entry proceeds from this fundraising campaign will go towards our mission to create a world in which every child with a damaged heart has an equal opportunity to receive life-saving treatment.

All you have to do is click this link and enter now! Thank you for supporting Surgeons of Hope!

Surgeons of Hope Expands to Paraguay

Surgeons of Hope is thrilled to announce its recent expansion to Paraguay! Beginning on March 15th, the organization conducted a week-long surgical, interventional and training mission at the Children’s Hospital of Acosta Ñu, the only public hospital solely dedicated to infants and children in the country.

This mission would not have been possible without the help of Surgeons of Hope’s partners from the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón and the Hospital Universitario La Paz, whose medical expertise and training skills made this mission a resounding success. Surgeons of Hope is also grateful to Medtronic and Bioline for their generous donation of much needed medical supplies, including catheters, guidewires, balloons and stents, and to Menudos Corazones, for the educational and emotional support it provided for the families on this journey of treatment and recovery.

Initially, the mission planned to complete life-saving interventions on 20 children. However, due to the immense team spirit and dedication exhibited by the local and international medical teams, a total of 33 life-saving interventions –including 8 open heart surgeries and 25 interventional catheterizations– were performed. In just one week, more interventions through catheterizations were achieved than in the past three years, on patients ranging from one month to 17 years old.

When undergoing cardiac repair or palliation through catheterization, patients are able to leave the hospital 24 hours post-intervention, as it employs a minimally invasive technique that leaves no scars on the chest. Instead, it is done by threading catheters through blood vessels until they reach the patient’s heart and vessels, allowing for a more comfortable and faster recovery. For every two open heart surgeries performed, four patients came out of the catheterization room.

While the hospital has a Catheterization (Cath) laboratory, it does not have sufficient local expertise or the necessary supplies to routinely and efficiently use it. In order to resolve this issue, Surgeons of Hope is creating a fund to provide training and supplies to optimize the capabilities of the catheterization program. To this date, there are still over 300 patients on the waitlist for life-saving heart surgery or interventional catheterizations. Additionally, we project around 500 newborn patients with a congenital cardiac malformation delivered every year. Surgeons of Hope needs your help to bring the Children’s Hospital of Acosta Ñu Catheterization Program to life, which, encompassed with an active cardiac surgical program, would ultimately ensure that all of these children have the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives. Surgeons of Hope would greatly appreciate any donations, small or big, to help them make this vision come true.

Thanks to your generosity, our teams are saving more children than ever before. We are deeply grateful for your commitment to Surgeons of Hope.

Victoria Flamant Appointed Executive Director of Surgeons of Hope

The Board of Directors of the Surgeons of Hope Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Victoria Flamant as Executive Director.

Victoria comes to Surgeons of Hope (SoH) with deep and relevant international nonprofit expertise from her experience working with Malala Fund and serving as a focal point for civil society and foundation engagement at the World Bank Group (WBG). She has represented both organizations at key global meetings, such as the United Nations General Assembly and the Summit of the Americas, and has built successful life-changing initiatives from the ground up, including the WBG Youth Summit and One Journey Festival. Ms. Flamant holds a Masters Degree from the New School in Non-Profit Management and a Bachelors Degree in International Development Studies from the University of East Anglia.

“SoH is excited to take its multinational life-saving pediatric cardiovascular services to the next level with Victoria’s leadership and fundraising skills. We see the fit as perfect for both of us,” said Judith O’Neill, Vice President of Surgeons of Hope.

“Given Surgeons of Hope’s important mission, its global reputation and track record of saving thousands of children in Latin America, I am honored to join the organization. I look forward to leading its work as Executive Director to ensure as many children as possible are given an equal chance for a healthy life”, added Ms Flamant.

CONTACT: Judith O’Neill, 212-977-4424

Volunteer Oportunity at our Administrative Office

Special Events and Program Coordinator Intern Position:

We are looking for someone enthusiastic to join a dynamic team for a part-time or full-time internship opportunity. This position will be performing creative thinking; fundraising; marketing; administration; other duties as required to get the job done! It is important the applicant be organized and have an eye for detail. Previous experience in development or special events preferred.

Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

Assisting with data entry and administrative tasks associated with the events
Assisting with event invitation, program, and registration materials
Help manage donations and acknowledgements & interact with donors
Submit periodic reports to Executive Director regarding program and volunteer activities
Assist with other administrative duties as required
Applicants should possess excellent oral and written communications skills, a positive attitude, and enthusiasm for humanitarian work.

Experience

Working knowledge with Microsoft Office Suite; experience with eTapestry is a plus.

Applications are for the fall session, with a commitment needed for February – June.

Applications will be accepted until midnight February 28, 2019.

Qualifications and Skills

Education Level: Junior/Senior Undergraduate. S students welcome to apply

Job Type: Internship

Your support means everything to us

Please visit our website at surgeonsofhope.org
Donate to our cause at surgeonsofhope.org/donate

A Light of Hope

Two weeks ago, a 6 month old patient from Matagalpa came to our Health Center in Nicaragua. He was diagnosed with an Obstructed Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), a congenital heart defect that affects the pulmonary veins. If left untreated, this disease will inevitably prove fatal. Unfortunately, our next mission in Nicaragua won’t be until this coming August, the baby simply could not wait. The local team, however, had never performed a surgical repair on a TAPVR before so they were very hesitant to try. With teamwork, support, and extraordinary bravery, they decided to go ahead with the surgery. There was no time to wait. We are exceedingly proud to say that the courageous team of doctors in Nicaragua successfully finished the repair. The baby boy, who was extubated last Tuesday, now has a healthy heart and is on the road to recovery towards a full and vibrant life. Even in the toughest conditions, and time running against them, these doctors gave him a chance of life and we are so honored that they are a part of Surgeons of Hope! #NoChildDeservesABrokenHeart

Filmmaker and Actor Diego Luna Works to Bring Greater Access to Pediatric Heart Surgery in Latin America: Nonprofit Surgeons of Hope names Luna as its first Heart Ambassador.

Filmmaker, actor and humanitarian, Diego Luna is partnering with the Surgeons of Hope Foundation to raise awareness of the growing need for children and babies to have access to life-saving heart surgeries, regardless of where they call home. Diego Luna is most notorious for his work in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Flatliners, and Narcos (a popular Netflix produced show). He is the organization’s first Heart Ambassador, a role in which he will travel to Latin America on a service mission to witness the Surgeons of Hope team demonstrate their impact firsthand. Click HERE to watch Diego Luna’s message to our supporters. We hope that with the help of the Mexico City native this global health issue will have the exposure it so rightfully needs.

Worldwide, over one million children are born with congenital heart disease every year. Millions more are affected by rheumatic heart disease. While most heart defects can be corrected or improved, children in developing countries are routinely denied life-saving cardiac surgery simply because they live in a region without access to adequate and affordable pediatric care.

“Both Diego and our organization believe that no child should die of a broken heart,” said Surgeons of Hope’s Executive Director Charles-Edouard Catherine. “It is an unconscionable loss that a child dies anywhere in the world from a heart defect due to lack of resources or proper care, and he’s helping us to further achieve this vision over the next year thanks to his commitment and leadership.”

Luna will travel with a team on an upcoming mission with the intentions of strengthening our cause and furthering our objective. This past year, Surgeons of Hope has helped save the lives of 486 children and performed over 18,000 screenings. At Surgeons of Hope, we believe that what matters isn’t what we bring, it’s what we leave behind; by providing training to local doctors, surgeons and nurses we facilitate the progressive growth to conquer this issue.

“I am inspired by the incredible work done by the doctors and volunteers who work with the Foundation on a daily basis” said Luna. “I was born in Mexico City and I know how important this is for Latin America. I’m honored and excited to announce that I am becoming a Heart Ambassador for Surgeons of Hope. I am looking forward to joining their next mission to Costa Rica in September, there are many families and patients who need our help!”

Click here to learn more about this amazing partnership.

About the Surgeons of Hope Foundation The Surgeons of Hope Foundation is a New York-based nonprofit established in 2001. The organization aims to ensure every infant and child with a damaged heart has equal opportunity to receive life-saving surgery. Surgeons of Hope provides urgently needed treatment, trains medical teams, and builds health centers in under-resourced communities around the world. https://surgeonsofhope.org/

New milestones in our global fight against heart disease

Dear friend,
Last week, I had the privilege to visit a new pediatric program in Lima, Peru, where together with Hearts with Hope, our volunteers have done over 100 screenings, and performed open heart surgery and interventional cardiology for 12 hours each day. I wish I could tell you what it’s like to meet our patients, their families, and to see them leave the hospital with a smile and a healthy heart just a few days later!
All the programs that are mentioned in this Newsletter are accomplished by unpaid volunteers who give generously of their time and talents. However without the support of our generous donors giving large and small contributions these attempts to help so many children could not happen. Our board members, volunteers and friends would like to thank all who give for the first time or many times over the years. I hope to see those of you who live in New York City at our Holiday Party on November 30, I would love to be able to thank you in person!
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” Oscar Wilde
Our first mission in Peru:
Thank you to our volunteers for their amazing work last week in Lima. This mission was a great success! Thank you for your courage and your conviction, for leaving behind all that is familiar and comfortable to serve others. Thank you also for realizing that the experiences you lived and the people you met taught you more than you could have imagined. Thank you for your patience, respect and perseverance, change is never easy. But most of all thank you for your kindness, care and love and for being the inspiration the world needs. And of course, thank you to the Children of Peru Foundation for their generous support and to Hearts with Hope for leading this project. Here is a picture of Yarifee, she is now home with a healthy heart!

 

A milestone for our program in Nicaragua:
We are very proud to announce that Dr. Téllez and Dr. Narváez, two Nicaraguan surgeons who were trained by our teams successfully performed a Glenn procedure last week in total autonomy in Managua for the very first time. As you can see, the patient is doing really well! The Glenn procedure is a complex surgery, this success is an important milestone for our program. At Surgeons of Hope we believe that what matters isn’t what we bring, it’s what we leave behind. Dr. Téllez and Dr. Narváez are two young talented surgeons, we are very proud to support them and their team. Together, we will save many more lives.
Surgeons of Hope’s Holiday Party:
Join us on November 30 to kick off the Holiday Season! This year our Holiday Party will be held at the Bulgarian Consulate in NYC. The reception will begin with a cocktail party as we come together to celebrate and raise money for the Foundation. Then, two talented pianist, Georgy Lenovo and Lora Al will amaze us with a short recital. French opera star David Serero will conclude the evening with a selection of French and American Christmas Carols to kick off the Holiday Season!
Our offer to you:
Two weeks ago, a member of our Board of Directors, Michael Katz has offered to personally match every dollar (up to $10,000) that is contributed to Surgeons of Hope from now until December 31, 2017. Michael is not only an active member of the Board, but has a unique connection to the organization. His daughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Through his personal experience Michael realized how millions of families across the world are not as lucky to have access to pediatric cardiac care.
In just two weeks, we already raised $4,291, thank you! If you haven’t done so already, please click here to make your tax-deductible donation to Surgeons of Hope. Give before December 31, and Mr. Katz will personally match your gift and double the impact of your support!

Gratefully,

Charles-Edouard Catherine
Executive Director
Surgeons of Hope Foundation

Your support means everything to us

Please visit our website at surgeonsofhope.org
Donate to our cause at surgeonsofhope.org/donate

Our Offer To You

Dear Friend,

As you already know, Surgeons of Hope has a crucial mission, saving the lives of babies and children affected with heart disease. Uniquely, Surgeons of Hope also has a sustainable long term model that enables local communities to, over time, have self-sustaining pediatric cardiac programs with limited to no further involvement from Surgeons of Hope. This model scales and can be implemented worldwide to ensure high quality care for the next generations. Because what matters isn’t what we bring, it’s what we leave behind.

A member of our Board of Directors, Michael Katz has offered to personally match every dollar (up to $10,000) that is contributed to Surgeons of Hope from now until December 31, 2017. Michael is not only an active member of the Board, but has a unique connection to the organization. His daughter, Alexandra, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Through his personal experience Michael realized how millions of families across the world are not as lucky to have access to pediatric cardiac care. As a result, he and his wife were drawn to the mission of the Surgeons of Hope Foundation.

With your help, we can continue to develop this model and provide care throughout the world. So please click here to make your tax-deductible donation to Surgeons of Hope. Give before December 31, and Mr. Katz will personally match your gift, up to $10,000 and double the impact of your support!

 

Gratefully,

Charles-Edouard Catherine
Executive Director
Surgeons of Hope Foundation

Your support means everything to us

Please visit our website at surgeonsofhope.org
Donate to our cause at surgeonsofhope.org/donate

 

Meet Our Heroes: Medical Volunteers and Surgeons

 
 
Dear friend,
 
We have some exciting news! Thanks to the Association des Français Fonctionnaires Internationaux de New York (AFFIN), we will hold our next event on September 12th at 6:30pm! The focus of the evening will be a panel of some of the amazing and inspiring doctors who volunteer with Surgeons of Hope.
 
They will discuss their experiences and answer any questions you may have. In addition to the panel, there will be a meet and greet with our team and a showing of a video that captures all of the wonderful work done by Surgeons of Hope.
 

The panel will include:
 
Emile Bacha, MD
(Chief, Pediatric and Adult Cardiac Surgery, NY Presbyterian Hospital)
 
Charles Catherine
(Executive Director, Surgeons of Hope Foundation)
 
Eva Cheung, MD
(Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Medical Director, Pediatric ECMO Columbia University Medical Center)
 
Sibylle Eschapasse
(President, Association des Français Fonctionnaires Internationaux de New York and Moderator)
 
His Excellency Mr. Juan Carlos Mendoza Garcia
(Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations)
 
Shannan Pearsall
(Mended Little Hearts National Steering Committee Member, MLH of Long Island Group Coordinator)
 
Her Excellency Mrs. Maria Rubiales de Chamorro
(Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the United Nations)
 

The event will take place on Tuesday September 12, 2017 at 630 PM in conference room 8 at the UN Headquarters (46th Street and 1st Avenue).
 

 
 
Your support means everything to us.
Donate to our cause at surgeonsofhope.org/donate
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