Cocktails for A Cause! A Resounding Success

Exactly one week has passed since Surgeons of Hope proudly proudly hosted Cocktails for a Cause, a fundraising event dedicated to celebrating the people who make our mission possible and witnessing the positive impact we bring to the lives of the children we support. Our night was filled with much enjoyment at the Ivy Terrace, where guests  basked in the perfect weather while relishing specialty cocktails and indulging in delectable hors d’oeuvres. The evening’s highlights included the exhilarating live auctions, a silent auction featuring amazing experiences and wonderful art by the Student Arts League, and, most importantly, a compelling look back at our work over the past year through a touching video presentation. We were privileged to host Ambassador Carlos Alberto Ortíz, the UN representative from Paraguay, at our event. Thanks to the remarkable achievements of our live and silent auctions, along with the live ask segment, we successfully met our goal to receive a generous matching donation from our former board member and steadfast supporter, Michael Katz. The funds raised and the valuable connections established have brought us a significant step closer to ensuring that children with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) in Latin America receive the vital care they need. Our heartfelt gratitude extends to our dedicated board members, the event committee, our enthusiastic volunteers, sponsors, and most importantly, to the children and families we serve. They have entrusted us with the care of their children, and we remain committed to our mission.

Transforming Lives: Empowering Pediatric Cardiologists Trained in Echocardiography to Address Congenital Heart Disease Globally

Meet Franciele, a pediatric cardiologist training in echocardiography training in Spain from June 2023 to December 2023 with the support of SOH and Hospital Gregorio Maranon in Spain. In a world where every heartbeat matters, the role of a pediatric cardiologist trained in echocardiography is undeniably crucial. The early diagnosis of congenital heart disease (CHD) holds the key to transforming lives and shaping a brighter future for children around the globe. By emphasizing the importance of training these specialized medical professionals, we can make significant strides in addressing CHD and its impact, especially in the developing world. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect, affecting millions of children worldwide. Without timely detection and intervention, it can lead to serious health complications and even loss of life. However, with advancements in medical technology, echocardiography has emerged as a powerful tool in diagnosing CHD at its earliest stages. By using ultrasound imaging to visualize the structure and function of the heart, pediatric cardiologists can identify anomalies and provide timely interventions, greatly improving outcomes for affected children. In the developing world, the burden of CHD is particularly significant due to limited resources and access to specialized care. Many children in these regions face challenges ranging from delayed diagnosis to limited treatment options. However, by training pediatric cardiologists in echocardiography, we can bridge this gap and ensure that children receive the care they deserve. Early detection of CHD is essential for several reasons. First, it enables healthcare providers to offer appropriate medical interventions, such as medication or surgical procedures, at the earliest opportunity. This early intervention significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and minimizes long-term complications. Second, early diagnosis allows families to prepare emotionally and financially for the journey ahead, ensuring that they have the support they need during this critical time. In the developing world, where healthcare infrastructure is often under-resourced, training pediatric cardiologists in echocardiography is a game-changer. It equips them with the skills and knowledge to accurately identify CHD in infants and children, even in resource-limited settings. These healthcare heroes become beacons of hope, bringing specialized care to underserved communities and breaking the cycle of limited access to quality medical services. To address the status of CHD in the developing world, it is vital to advocate for increased investment in healthcare infrastructure, training programs, and the provision of necessary medical equipment. By partnering with local communities, governments, and international organizations, we can work towards building sustainable solutions that empower pediatric cardiologists and healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat CHD effectively. The journey of a pediatric cardiologist trained in echocardiography is not just about interpreting images or diagnosing medical conditions. It is about transforming lives, instilling hope, and shaping a healthier future for our children. Every child deserves the chance to thrive, and by empowering these medical professionals, we can create a world where every heartbeat is heard, cherished, and given the opportunity to flourish.

Surgical Mission to Paraguay

In April, a team of 17 individuals from Spain, 1 from Nicaragua, 2 representatives from Surgeons of Hope and one from Mending Kids, devoted a week of their time to participate in a life-saving mission. From April 15-22, the team conducted surgeries and catherizations on over 30 children aged between 2 months and 17 years in Paraguay over a five-day period. During this time the team had the privilege of getting to know the children on a personal level, learning about their aspirations, daily lives, interests, and favorite school subjects. This was the first time that Surgeons of Hope had partnered with Mending Kids, and the collaboration proved to be a great success. Not only were the teams able to work together on a medical mission but they were also able to meet with the local UNICEF office and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Paraguay to discuss potential areas of collaboration and support. These meetings provided valuable insights into the needs and challenges facing the healthcare system in Paraguay and laid the groundwork for future initiatives to improve healthcare access and outcomes in the region. Overall, the surgical mission to Paraguay was a testament to the power of collaboration and the importance of global health initiatives. Through the efforts of Surgeons of Hope, Mending Kids, and their local partners, over 30 children were able to receive life-changing medical treatment, and valuable connections were established that will help to improve healthcare access and outcomes in the region for years to come. Below are a few pictures of the mission:

Surgical Mission to Costa Rica

Surgeons of Hope’s returned to Costa Rica after a 3-year hiatus because of the pandemic. A medical team from Chicago, led by Dr. Luca Vricella arrived in Costa Rica on February 12, 2023 and performed  corrective surgeries for congenital heart defects on six children at the Hospital Nacional de Niños in San Jose, Costa Rica. The team consisted of one surgeon, one OR nurse, two cardiologists, an anesthesiologist, a perfusionist, and two ICU nurses. They were accompanied by two members of the Surgeons of Hope Foundation. Coming from different regions of the country, the six girls and boys with had access to highly complex corrective surgeries that they had been waiting for, some for over a year. The team worked in tandem with the local cardiology team, surgeons, and nurses at the Hospital Nacional de Niños. The surgeries were performed by the local surgeons with oversight from the visiting team. Resident physicians and cardiologists in training also participated in medical discussions. The professionals described the experience as positive, both in terms of the surgical mission, as well as the knowledge they shared on surgery and anesthesia techniques, with faster recovery in the post-surgery period. Here are a few pictures from the successful visit. Surgeons of Hope plans to return in Spring 2023. Check out our trip video:

Surgical Mission to Paraguay

Surgeons of Hope’s first surgical mission after the pandemic was a success. A medical team from France, led by Dr. Dominique Metras, arrived in Paraguay on December 11, 2022 and perfomed  corrective surgeries for congenital heart defects on nine children at the Hospital Pediátrico “Niños de Acosta Ñu” in San Lorenzo. The team consisted of two surgeons, a cardiologist, an anesthesiologist, a perfusionist and three ICU nurses. They were accompanied by two members of the Surgeons of Hope Foundation. For the nine children and their families, the holidays were full of hope. Coming from different regions of the country, nine girls and boys with had access to highly complex corrective surgeries, through a joint collaboration between the cardiology team of the general pediatric hospital “Niños de Acosta Ñu” and their peers, cardiologists, heart surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses of the Surgeons of Hope Foundation Inc. who came from France and the USA. Dr. Nancy Garay, head of Cardiology at Acosta Ñu, commented that the results of the surgeries, which took place from December 12 to 16, were successful.Resident physicians and cardiologists in training also participated in training talks. The professionals described the experience as positive, both in terms of the surgical mission, as well as the knowledge they shared on surgery and anesthesia techniques, with faster recovery in the post-surgery period. This is Fernando’s mom: Surgeons of Hope was able to reach out to patient who was operated on during our first mission in 2029. This is Brenda’s mom:

Eduardo Da Cruz, the doctor with the sweet smile that puts Costa Rica in the mecca of world medicine

On September 11, 2022, the national newspaper in Costa Rica, La Nacion, published an inspiring article about Eduardo’s work to improve the quality of cardiac care provided to children in Costa Rica.  The article, titled, “ Eduardo Da Cruz, the doctor with the sweet smile that puts Costa Rica in the mecca of world medicine,” describes Eduardo’s humble beginnings fleeing the dictatorship in Portugal with his parents to becoming one of the most respected cardiologists and intensivists in the world as the Chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiovascular Critical Care, Peter Lang Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. As you will read in the article, Eduardo transformed healthcare in Costa Rica. He helped establish the Pediatric Cardiovascular Program of the National Children’s Hospital (HNN). His knowledge of how medical systems work in different countries affords him unique insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each, and informs the educational guidelines he produces. His work is paving the way for a comprehensive approach to saving children’s lives around the world.  Eduardo’s dream is to create a state of the art regional cardiac center in Latin America and it is evident that he is the best person to lead that endeavor. Surgeons of Hope is extremely proud to have Eduardo at its helm over the last decade and we look forward to working with Eduardo to realize his dream.

Hospital Pediátrico “Niños de Acosta Ñu has performed eight surgeries

Over the past month, the Hospital Pediátrico “Niños de Acosta Ñu has performed eight surgeries, several of which produced ideal outcomes. Sweet Alma, the youngest patient this round at just one month old, underwent percutaneous valvuloplasty, a procedure that improves blood flow, and recovered, beautifully.

Surgeons of Hope Exceeds Goals for 8th Annual Gala!

Surgeons of Hope’s 2020 gala – its 8th annual gala and first virtual gala – was a great success! The Celebrating Our Heart Heroes gala, chaired by philanthropist and author Jean Shafiroff, exceeded its fundraising goals. The success allows Surgeons of Hope to continue training local pediatric cardiac teams and providing life saving surgery for poor children with heart conditions in Latin America in 2021 and beyond. To date, Surgeons of Hope has saved the lives of thousands of children in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Paraguay. The November 12th gala was virtual this year due to Covid-19. Hundreds of attendees joined the gala from the comfort of their own homes around the globe. All enjoyed the evening hosted by the renowned Jacqueline Towers-Perkins, who also ran the night’s live auction. Among the items bid on during the event were a vacation at a luxury villa in Mexico, a weekend escape with views of Connecticut’s Thimble Islands, ½-day New York Harbor excursion, and a cooking workshop with Patricia Cartin. In addition to the auction, attendees were entertained by a performance by the jazz-inspired Acute Inflections and saw heart-warming stories of some of the children the organization has helped and the medical teams who have made it possible. “Our virtual format this year allowed so many people who would not have been able to travel to New York to attend in person to join us on this celebratory evening. Some were across town, some were across the country, and others across an ocean. Everyone, no matter where they were, thoroughly enjoyed the evening and applauded the work of our great medical teams and celebrated the lives of the children we’ve helped,” said Surgeons of Hope Executive Director Victoria Flamant. “We are grateful for their participation and support, and thrilled they were passionate about our mission and ensuring we reached and surpassed our gala goals. We can’t thank everyone enough.” Publicis Groupe was the presenting sponsor for the 2020 gala. Additional sponsors were Full Circle, Soma, and Acker Wines.

Surgeons of Hope’s 2020 Gala Goes Virtual to Celebrate Our Heart Heroes

Mark your calendars! Surgeons of Hope is holding its 2020 Gala on Thursday, November 12th. This year, due to Covid-19, our Gala – Celebrating Our Heart Heroes – will be held virtually. You can attend our virtual Gala from the comfort of your own home, no matter where you call home. The Celebrating Our Heart Heroes Gala evening will be Thursday, November 12th from 7:00pm – 8:00pm EDT. Philanthropist and author Jean Shafiroff will again chair this year’s Gala. The renowned Jacqueline Towers-Perkins will host the evening and run the fabulous Live & Silent Auction we have planned. Diego Luna, actor and producer and Surgeons of Hope Heart Ambassador, will make a special appearance. Of course, the Gala will also highlight many heartwarming stories of the children we’ve helped and the medical teams who have made it possible. “We’re excited to be able to hold this year’s Gala virtually. In our virtual format, many people who might not be able to come to New York for an in-person event can now participate and join us in recognizing and celebrating everyone who has helped Surgeons of Hope take care of poor children in Latin America who need heart surgery,” said Executive Director Victoria Flamant. “Our 2020 Gala is crucial to ensuring we raise needed funds to continue our work into 2021 and beyond. We encourage everyone to attend. We have a great evening planned.” Tickets for the 2020 Gala are free. Pre-registration is required, which you can do here: There are also Benefactor tickets to the Gala, which come with fabulous perks, such as a chef-prepared gourmet three-course dinner delivered to your home to enjoy during our Gala, a luxury-filled gift box, and entries into our great raffle. Get more details and purchase your tickets here: Every ticket and donation helps us save the lives of poor children needing heart surgery. There are still opportunities for organizations to donate items for the live & silent auction and/or sponsor the evening. For more information, reach out to Victoria Flamant at [email protected] or (212) 771-5805.