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February 2012

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Camp del Corazon, camp for more than broken hearts

Have you ever been invited to an event when someone is being honored? I was recently invited to something for a friend of mine, who is one of those very generous souls that does so much with no attention to himself. He is being honored by Camp del Corazon.

As I am beginning to think of my children’s summer plans, I wanted to know more about this place. This camp isn’t just for anyone but for children who have congenital heart disease and typically can not experience camp or exercise in many cases.  My friend knows about this first hand as his child has also had multiple surgeries.

Camp del Corazon (Camp of the Heart) was inspired by a patient, of Dr. Kevin Shannon, who had undergone an operation that dramatically improved the function of his heart but he was still suffering from emotional pain. He was back in school, back in little league baseball but he was so embarrassed by his scars that he wouldn’t remove his shirt.

Dr. Shannon felt that if his patient could spend time with other kids who’d had heart surgery, he’d be less self-conscious. When Dr. Shannon discussed the situation with Lisa Knight, R.N., her solution was simple: “We can do that.” And so they did.

This doctor and nurse set about fund-raising to ensure that the medically-supervised summer camp would be free for children ages 7-17 who had heart disease. When Camp del Corazon began in 1995, they had 49 campers on beautiful Catalina Island , today the camp has  close to 300 campers. Camp del Corazon is staffed completely by volunteer counselors, nurses, and physicians who give of their hearts to help these special kids.

Camp del Corazon has grown into a non-profit dedicated to providing programs for children and families living with heart disease. A camp that more than lives up to its name, just like those that support it. Big hearts all the way around.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Motion Picture and Television Fund

Since I live in a “company town” called Los Angeles, this weekend everyone is a buzz with the Academy Awards. With this years films (The Artist and Hugo) telling the story of film making, it seemed only fitting to tell the story of the non-profit that started 90 years ago with the advent of silent films.

The Motion Picture & Television Fund began with a simple coin box in Hollywood where industry workers would deposit spare change for their fellow colleagues. Right from the start, their mission was “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Industry legends as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks realized the need for reaching out to those in the entertainment industry who fell upon hard times. In 1921, the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF) was incorporated to provide help to those in the motion picture industry who were in need.

An acting couple ( a character actor and his chorus girl wife ) were the first recipients of this new organization. The husband became partially paralyzed and was unable to work. MPRF paid their $40 hotel bill, arranged rent, and helped to find work.

The advent of talkies in the late twenties brought many changes to the film industry. While talkies launched many new careers, hundreds of actors, directors and writers who had not foreseen the change to the industry or their livelihood, became unemployed. MPRF came to their aid.

As more requests for assistance were made, celebrity-packed benefits were held to raise the needed funds. What started out as the Motion Picture Relief Fund has today developed into a comprehensive service organization which operates six outpatient health centers throughout the greater Los Angeles area; a children’s center; a retirement community, health plans and much, much more.

The Motion Picture & Television Fund mission remains the same today as it did during the advent of film, to protect and preserve the health and quality of life of those who devote so much of their lives to a career in the entertainment industry.

So for all of those who have entertained us both in front and behind the cameras. Thank you. The magic of film making and the magic of caring for one another simply never grows old. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Saving Tiny Hearts Follow Up

When I set out to tell the stories of these inspirational people who have taken their pain and turned it into compassion I never knew where it would lead. I wanted to share with you this beautiful follow up from Francie Paul, the founder of Saving Tiny Hearts.Org

Here is Francie’s note:

Thank YOU for your beautiful post- we are extremely honored to have Saving tiny Hearts featured.

We did have high profile malpractice attorneys at our doorstep…practically before we were out of the hospital from Joshua’s firstheart surgery…it wasn’t who we were…our life’s mission came out of the greatest need for medicine and science into heart defects to catch up to support all children, like our little love, afflicted with heart defects.

Starting the Saving tiny Hearts Society began before our Joshua’s second heart surgery (- he has had 3) at 3 months old, after pediatric heart surgeons told us that there was a desperate need to fund research, that young hungry scientists were being turned down for government funding because they didn’t have enough monies to beef up their revolutionary proposals….which is where we would come in, to provide the seed money for it all.

Most people don’t realize that so many babies and children do not survive because of lack of research to save them.  We didn’t know that it was the #1 birth defect in the world and the #1 cause of birth defect related deaths….we didn’t know that it could happen to our baby.

Someone had raised funds for research for us 30 years ago and our baby was given a chance to live. Ten years from now will be a whole different ball game into medicine, science and technology into heart defect research.  We don’t want to wait for what doctors say ‘will be….’ we want to fund research to change the future for ‘what can be…’ for all children, like my beautiful Joshua suffering from heart disease.  Out of our heartache, there is hope….

I don’t know if you had seen the movie ‘Something the Lord Made’ but it was an HBO movie about one of the very first heart surgeries ever performed, the Blalock-Taussig Shunt (-BT Shunt). It was the very first successful heart surgery that began with a blue baby as doctors were afraid to touch the heart and felt that of these babies wouldn’t live otherwise, so they would try this most revolutionary procedure on a baby first.  Nearly 60 years later,at 4 days old, after our baby was stabilized, he had a Blalock-Taussig shunt.

We can’t thank you enough for sharing our story; it has truly been a humbling journey for us and in the greatest of heartache, we have seen the very best in friends.  Can’t wait to read more Charity Matters and see all of the amazing things that are happening because of you.

With Gratitude & Very Best Wishes,

Francie

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Happy Presidents Day!

In honor of Presidents Day, I thought a quote from Abraham Lincoln would be a fitting tribute.

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.

Even Abe knew Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Loved Twice

February is all about love. Yes, Valentines Day is behind us and the chocolate wrappers are scattered throughout the house, the red roses maybe shedding their petals but love is still in the air. When I heard the name of this sweet cause, well it seemed the perfect follow-up to Valentines Day, which is no easy feat.

 Loved Twice started in 2005 when Lisa Klein, Founder, responded to an online community appeal from Louisiana for donations of baby clothing after Hurricane Katrina. Having just had her first child, Lisa was deeply moved to contribute. She rallied other San Francisco Bay Area mothers and collected 200 pounds of babywear in 4 days. Mailing the onesies, swaddling blankets, and other donated newborn clothes off, she realized that the simple process of recycling gently used babywear to provide for infants in need could be applied to her home state of California. Lisa turned her compassion into passion and started Loved Twice to help underprivileged newborns in her own community, giving disadvantaged babies a better start in life.

Today, Loved Twice has grown into an effective grassroots philanthropy that is embraced by the communities it serves. They celebrate every volunteered hour, every contributed dollar, and every stitch of donated baby clothing. But their work is just beginning. Over nine hundred thousand babies will be born into poverty in the United States this year. With support, they could reach out to every one of them with warmth, and with hope.

We all just want to be loved even once, but Loved Twice is so much sweeter!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Generosity Day

Sasha Dichter of Causes.Com is starting a movement.

He actually began last year and this is year two of rebooting Valentine’s Day as Generosity Day: one day of sharing love with everyone, of being generous to everyone, to see how it feels and to practice saying “Yes.” The goal is to make the day about love, action and human connection – because he believes we can do better than smarmy greeting cards, overpriced roses, and stressed-out couples trying to create romantic meals on the fly.

I love Valentines Day but think there is nothing wrong with a little Generosity Day either. At the end of the day, whichever one you celebrate tomorrow, its all about the same thing…love.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


A Golfer with Heart

This being National Heart month and heart disease being a big part of my own family. An amazing story of heart was recently brought to my attention and I thought you might be inspired as well.

His name is Erik Compton and he is a professional golfer, not the founder of a non-profit. But a man with a very big heart for life and a person who has lived the story of heart disease since he was 12.

Erik gives a face to thousands who wait for heart transplants each year. President Clinton said last month about Erik, “And you think if someone can overcome all the real problems that he’s overcome to live the life that he’s living, then the rest of us ought to do a better job of staying healthy enough that we don’t bankrupt the health care system and we don’t undermine the ability of our children to raise our grandchildren and we don’t raise the first generation of kids to have shorter lifespans than their parents.”

Like many of us Erik has a family and travels for his golf career but can be found volunteering his time for special events and hospital visitations to meet transplant patients and their families in support of organ donation and transplant awareness. That is a true champion.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Saving Tiny Hearts

There is always that defining moment. We each have them, some bigger than others.  On August 11th, 2005 Francie Paul had that moment when she gave birth to her son, Joshua. Francie’s moment was more than that of a proud new and tired mother but one of concern.  Four hours after his birth, Joshua was rushed from the local hospital where he was quickly diagnosed with Severe Complex Congenital Heart Disease.

It is there is that moment, that small space in time that having a sick child will either destroy you or define you. The Paul family had that moment, frustrated and angry with their son’s condition.

“Like many parents in our position, we became very angry and once the dust settled we considered litigation as a course of action. After meeting with high-profile medical-malpractice attorneys in Chicago we decided that this route was clearly not for us. In the elevator on the way out of one of the attorney’s offices we called Brian’s (my husband) corporate attorney to find out how to start a Public Charity. We felt channeling our energy into something positive instead of something negative (like litigation) would be much healthier and fulfilling way for us focus our efforts.”

The result of that frustration and emotion was channeled into the creation of Saving Tiny Hearts.org  Since 2006, the Saving tiny Hearts Society has been working to fulfill its mission of raising seed money for grossly under-funded, lifesaving research of congenital heart defects . This seed funding acts as a bridge for this research to millions of dollars of extramural funding from the National Institute of Health. To date Saving Tiny Hearts has funded five (5) research projects.

Today, Joshua is thriving and the Paul families change of heart from anger to action became that moment that matters. Their heart has helped thousands of tiny hearts. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Go Red!

There is nothing better than a little red dress to perk you up (sorry boys, but I’m sure you appreciate them too). So, since its Heart Month, its February and its almost Valentines Day. Why not Go Red?

Remember to Go Red, wear that little red dress and most importantly take care of your self and that big heart of yours. Without that heart there wouldn’t be Charity that Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Quote of the heart

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”

Dali Lama

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Hopeful Hearts Foundation

I recently met an amazing mom at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, who shared with me her son’s journey of Congenital Heart Disease. February being heart month, I wanted to share this story, about her friends the Chez family. A true story of the heart.

Adam and Terra Chez are parents whose three children were all born with Congenital Heart Disease.  Although, 1 out of every 100 babies are born with congenital heart defects, discovering that all your children suffer is an unimaginable and overwhelming experience. The Chez family discovered that their twins, Gracie and Luke had congenital heart disease in utero.

Their twins both had open heart surgeries in their first six months of life. Gracie had a second surgery and then died unexpectedly at age 3 on January 9, 2008. Despite their shock and despair the Chez family was determined  to keep their sweet daughter’s  memory alive.

“God showed us simply how much we are not in control of anyone’s destiny, not even our children, nothing can change the ultimate plan God has for us.  Our hearts began to feel the need to help others; it was then that we decided to pour our hearts into a foundation and give back. In April of 2008, Hopeful Hearts was established.”

Hopeful Hearts goal has been to help build both awareness and support for all families that have been affected by congenital heart disease. The Chez are committed to helping fund research for heart valve replacement and for the care involved from the corrective surgery through the healing and recovery process.

The following year, in August 2009, Adam and Terra were blessed with another child, Abigail, who also suffered from the disease.

Now with renewed determination to help families like their own, Adam and Terra have committed to promoting the health of children with congenital heart defects and cardiac disease, while honoring their children Luke and Abbey who live with Tetralogy of Fallot and the memory of their daughter Gracie. ” Our hearts are filled with the loving memory of our daughter and hope for the future of Luke, Abbey and all children who confront congenital heart disease with courageous hearts.”

“Our life was forever changed after finding out about our children’s heart conditions.  Our hope was to possibly find a way to bring families together and support those who were going through the same devastating experience we ourselves had been through. We wanted to be able to give back for all that we felt was given to us, through God’s Grace.”

A true story of love and making a difference for others from the heart.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.