Dr. Juan C. Alejos, M.D.
Director, Pediatric Heart Transplant Cardiomyopathy Service, Professor in Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Lawrence Czer, M.D., FACC, FACP
Medical Director, Heart Transplant Program, Director, Transplantation Cardiology, Co-Director, Mechanical Support Program, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Mario Deng, M.D., FACC, FESC
Professor of Medicine and Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Support, Heart Transplant, David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
Terry DeCrescenzo, MSW, LCSW
Social Worker, Grant Writer, Founder of GLASS Youth and Family Services, Los Angeles, CA
Board of Directors:
Founder - Executive Director
Chairman of the Board
CEO Autone Production
Ronnie Anderson, MBA
Educator/Teacher Crossroads School
Chairman and Founder of Maple Capital Management
Karla Gordy Bristol
Nelson, Shelton & Associates, Luxury Real Estate Professional
Victoria Franklin, MBA
Sidra Franklin LoCurto
President Sidra Franklin Interior Design
Lisa C Fuijmoto
Ex. Vice President, Change a Life Foundation
President Kilroe Advertising
Ada P. Sands
Attorney at Law Chairman, Sands and Associates Beverly Hills, CA
Lance J Walter
President Walter Properties - Palm Springs Hilton
“Hi, my name is Esmeralda and I’ve had two heart transplants. One when I was a baby, I was 11 months old, and right now I’m 13 and I had my other heart transplant a month and a half ago, and Ava’s Heart helped me to recover here at Tiverton Hotel. And I’m very very thankful for the donation she gave, because this hotel is very expensive and I would have to go far if she wouldn’t have paid for it, and I’m just… I love Ava. I love Ava and Ava’s Heart and I hope one day when I grow up, I want to be a nurse and work at the hospital, UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, and I want to help kids, just like Ava’s Heart.”
“Ava’s Heart and Change A Life are dreams come true. They saved us. We were so afraid, we were, we didn’t know where we were, didn’t know what to do. You know, this was all new to us. This is the first time I’ve ever had a lung transplant – hopefully the last! But, you know, we were lost and Ava’s Heart extended a hand and helped. And we appreciate that so much, we appreciate everything that they’ve done for us. And we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
This is Stephanie K, she received a heart at UCLA in September 2014 –we helped her with lots of gas cards to get her to clinic appointments. Stephanie lives over 3 hours away from her transplant center.
This is Jessica T., she received a liver and a kidney. As soon as she is released she has three months of housing waiting for her. She could not get listed unless she had housing. We helped save a life and Thank you change a life
Meet Cynthia B. we got her 50 notes of housing after her heart transplant at Cedars Sinai Hospital.
Meet Mariah. Mariah is 23 years old and has a new heart . We helped her with gas cards to make it to her many clinic appointments post transplant and help with food .
Hi, my name is David Fryer and I’m a heart transplant recipient having had two open heart surgeries, the first one back in 2012 to install a heart pump called a LVAD system to my old/weak heart. Then, I received my new heart on May 14, 2013 from a donor but it has not been all peaches & cream for me during this journey.
My Story –
My One big thing about my life situation is that I didn’t have any heart issues and for a 60 something year old male I was in pretty good shape So it was a shock to me to hear my doctor tell me that I had a heart condition that needs further investigation and landed me on the list for heart transplants after I had a LVAD system (Left Ventricular Assist Device)
attached to my original heart to help it to function properly. See the picture that I have included.
After this surgery was complete and the system was working I had to wait over 7 months before the right heart was made available for me. So, on May 14th in the year 2013 I received my heart in an operation that took 2 hours to complete. Now, with all of the complications of two operations and different side-effects from two surgeries, my medical bills were out of this world (even with the fact that I had insurance which paid for most of the operations) but left a void when it came to the different medications that I have to take to ensure that my body would not reject this new heart. I’m pleased to say that is where Ava’s heart organization stepped in and helped me with paying off my Medical pharmacy bill. My plan is to one day pay off all of my remaining bills but understand that your donations (any amount) will assist people like me that need assistance from having to experience a heart transplant operation and find themselves low on funds. I will end my story with a picture of myself, my wife & head nurse while holding my old heart (from the lab) in my hand. How many people can say that they were able to do that.
Ava, thank you & your organization for the excellent work that you do in helping others.
Meet Riley, we are currently helping her mom with transportation to visit Riley in the hospital, who has been waiting three years for a double lung transplant.
Meet Jessica- 9 years old and has received her 2nd heart. We provided housing post transplant.
Meet Robert & Alice
Meet Jamie- Pre-Transplant at UCLA- We provided Housing, Food, car seat and stroller
Meet Axiel- We provided housing and a stroller so his mom and sister could walk to and from the hospital.
Meet Jennifer and her family post transplant
Meet Caiden who is still at UCLA fighting for his Life– with his parents by his side.
We have provided emotional support as we do all our families, and will provide six weeks of housing post transplant.
Meet Kerri and her family
Meet Brian Hunter
My name is Brian Hunter Jr and I would like to take this time to thank the Ava’s Heart Foundation for their generous contribution to me and my family during my recovery.
I was the recipient of a device known as a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). An implant that was sown into the left side of my heart to keep the left side pumping in conjunction with the right side. The device required constant power through the use of a power module and batteries (in case of travel). The only way I was going to leave the hospital was if my room at my home had a dedicated wall socket to plug in the power module and it did not.
I wanted to leave the hospital so badly just for a chance at some kind of normalcy with my life, however my family didn’t have the $800 to cover the cost of the work. At my lowest moment I felt that I was never going to leave that hospital room but then a volunteer I became friends with by the name of Bill Sears told other volunteers about me and they were able to raised $300 of the money I needed. Bill suggest to me that he would share my story with the Ava’s Heart Foundation for any additional assistance and to my surprised not only the foundation heard my story but they decided to help with a donation of the full $800 to have the socket put into place and when I tried to give the $300 back to Bill he told me to keep it for any additional help needed around the house.
It was because of Bill and the Ava’s Heart Foundation I was able to finally leave the hospital and start the process of building my life back together and now a year and a half later I received a new heart, finished my Bachelor’s degree program, went back to work, meet my soon to be wife and just recently had my first child.
I received so many blessings last year and it started with my friend Bill and the gracious People at Ava’s Heart for making it possible to gain my life back after such a trying ordeal. Thank you so much to Ava’s heart for everything that it has done for me and my family. No amount of words can truly express how grateful I am for such support.
With all my heart thank you!
Brian Hunter Jr.
I think I want to start this heart felt thank you with “Ahhhhhhhhh”.
Well, here I am right out of the shower. Put that way doesn’t seem like much, but let me give you a little back ground. It is my first shower and change of clothes in days. I have spent all of May and half of June sleeping in a hospital room. Dan got his heart and liver transplants the first of December, and we have had family with him everyday since. At Cedars-Sinai Dan got moved to a larger room May 10, and I started sleeping in his room. You see, we live in Idaho and had no where to stay. I feel very fortunate because the room was warm, and I could shower there. Then, on June 7 Dan became medically stable and was discharged, after 229 consecutive days laying in a bed at Cedars. We needed to stay close to Cedars for many tests and dialysis. He was transported to a rehab facility. I took on sleeping there as well, with special permission from the facility. No shower.
This gift of housing from the Change of Life and Ava’s Heart is exactly what it is…. Change of life for our family! We all have had to travel by air back and forth from Idaho to be with Dan all these months, at great expense to us all. This way we are now able to spend more time helping Dan every step of the way. Literally, we now get to help him exercise his way to his new life!
He is just now re-learning to stand, take a step, then another. Being close by is such a heartwarming gift. Our little family is so appreciative, we can’t find the words. Dan and I have shared 502 wedded months together on this June 13th day. Eric is an aspiring musician, music talent buyer, music festival director, etc., etc.. Janet is our first grade teacher and the loving mother to 26 little ones. Both are always giving back to their communities and have always been so caring and thoughtful of those in need. They have done a beautiful job imitating our lives, and taking it beyond.
We feel blessed for those who have now taken us under their wing to help us in our hour of need.
Thank you for considering and awarding us a grant of housing in a furnished apartment. We hope that at the end of the two months of family shifting in and out we can take Dan to Idaho, and soon after back to nature in the Sawtooth Mountains.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Daniel, Barbara, Eric and Janet Gilbert
In Loving Memory