Heroes Ball 2016


Dr. Juan C. Alejos, M.D.

Juan C Alejos MD graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1987. He came to UCLA where he did his pediatric residency as well as his pediatric cardiology fellowship. He continued on at UCLA and became part of the clinical faculty in 1995. He is currently a Clinical Professor in Pediatrics and Director of the Pediatric Heart Transplant/Heart Failure program. He also initiated and is currently the director of the pediatric pulmonary hypertension program.

He is dedicated to his patients and is active in clinical research seeking to improve their outcomes. He is also active in a national and international level in lecturing.

Dr. Alejos is also the founder and president of Hearts with Hope Foundation. He has led multiple missions to Peru, El Salvador, and the Philippines. Hearts with Hope Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide medical , dental and humanitarian assistance to children with congenital heart disease in the underserved global community. To date HWH has travelled to multiple locations in Peru, El Salvador, and the Philippines. Upcoming missions include Honduras, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

During HWH 20 previous missions, we have cared for thousands of children. Our medical, dental and humanitarian teams are composed of volunteers from around the globe who give their vacation time, energy and talents to serve.

Dr. Mario Deng, M.D., FACC, FESC

Mario C. Deng, M.D., was working the nightshift in the resuscitation center, when his team sought to transfer a dying 45- year-old heart failure patient more than  5,500 miles to Stanford University, one of only three centers in the world performing heart transplants at the time. The man died before he could receive a new heart, but the experience had a lasting impact on Dr. Deng, who went on to become an internationally recognized leader in the field.

Born and raised in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Deng spent his senior year of high school in Southern California as part of an international-student exchange program. He returned to Germany for medical school and trained in internal medicine and cardiology. In 1992, he came back to California to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in heart transplantation/molecular cardiology at Stanford University. He then served as medical director of the Interdisciplinary Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Program at Muenster University in Germany before moving to Columbia University Medical Center in New York City in 2000, where he was director of cardiac-transplantation research for more than a decade prior to coming to UCLA.

In Germany, and then at Columbia, Dr. Deng conceived of and pioneered one of the seminal recent advances in heart transplantation, in close collaboration with UCLA and other leading academic U.S. heart-transplant centers: the first FDA-cleared blood test to rule out cardiac rejection, known as the Allomap test. The genomics-based test has greatly reduced the number of invasive cardiac biopsies required by heart-transplant recipients

Dr. Deng is a pioneer in translating advances in basic science research into treatments for advanced heart failure, particularly addressing the interactions between the cardiovascular and immune systems. Dr Mario Deng and Frederica Rais have just released their book, Relational Medicine: Personalizing Healthcare.

Dr. Deng also aims to further explore the interaction between the Relational Medicine and Relational Act concepts through growth of the Relational Medicine Foundation.

Lisa Fujimoto

Executive Vice President Lisa Fujimoto oversees and manages all grant-making and scholarship programs and activities at Change a Life Foundation. The Foundation funds critically needed direct services that promote self-sufficiency and improves the quality of life of grant recipients. Lisa was appointed Corporate Secretary and Executive Vice President to the Board of Directors in 2004. Prior to this, Lisa served as Executive Director of the Foundation, a position she held since The Change a Life Foundation’s inception in 2001.

Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University Fullerton. Prior to joining Change a Life Foundation, she had successful career in the nonprofit sector for over 3 decades. This included corporate philanthropy, which she worked as a cast member at the Walt Disney Company, as Manager of Community Relations for the Disneyland Resort. She later served as the Senior Vice President of the Orange County Rescue Mission, Director for the Orange County Division, for the Children’s Bureau Board of Directors, and Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations at Olive Crest Abused Children’s Foundation.

In the community, Lisa has provided volunteer leadership serving on 26 Boards and has been an activist in the fields of domestic violence, homelessness, child welfare and disability serving organizations. She is serving on Family Foundation Alliance, Orange County Funders Round Table, San Diego Grant makers, and Inland Empire Funders Forum.

Tom Mone

Since 2000, Tom Mone has led OneLegacy, the United State’s largest organ recovery agency, serving 19.5 million people, 200-plus hospitals and 11 transplant centers.

Tom created the Donate Life Rose Parade float that has more than a hundred national and international partners and is seen by 30 million people each year. He also created the Global Leadership Symposium to share donation best practices worldwide.

Tom served as President of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) in 2007-08 and is a founding member of AOPO’s Multicultural Council; he is also an AOPO Accreditation Surveyor and Committee member.

Previously, Mr. Mone was President and CEO of the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center and Mr. Mone began his career as a Presidential Management Intern and a Budget Analyst for the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he received the Secretary’s Award.

Mr. Mone received his Master of Science degree from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Change a Life Foundation

Since 2001, Change a Life Foundation has awarded more than 5,460 grants to assist individuals and families established by an anonymous philanthropist. All grants are made through pre-approved nonprofit partner organizations who identify individuals in need that could benefit from the Foundation’s funding. Nonprofit partner organizations are selected because their mission reflects that of the Foundation and is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the people they serve.

Change a Life’s vision is to save one life at a time and to significantly assist individuals and families who, through no fault of their own, have experienced an injury, illness, disability, or catastrophic life event, and who are suffering financial hardship. Change a Life Foundation provides support for critically needed assistance that promotes self-sufficiency, and improves quality of life.

Change a Life Foundation partners with California nonprofit organizations that are approved by the Foundation’s Executive Board. Change a Life Foundation’s pre-approved partners identify clients in need who will gain a greater self-sufficiency. The Foundation’s focus is to help individuals help themselves and become more independent and self-sufficient and ultimately productive members of society. The Foundation provides a unique style of philanthropy through these short term life-changing grants to individuals.

In 2014, Change a Life Foundation awarded 241 grants totaling $1,100,245 to individuals and families through our pre-approved nonprofit partner organizations.

OneLegacy Foundation

OneLegacy is the non-profit organ, eye, and tissue recovery agency and largest in the U.S., serving the 20 million people, 200 hospitals and 11 transplant centers in the 7 counties of the Greater Los Angeles area. Each year OneLegacy enables more than 1,300 life-saving organ transplants and 100,000 and healing tissue and cornea transplants.

The OneLegacy Foundation was created in 2011 to support the mission of OneLegacy, the nation’s largest organ, eye, and tissue recovery organization and trusted steward of the donation process. Our mission is to save and heal lives by inspiring and advancing donation and transplantation through research, public education and honoring donors whose legacies live on.

The mission OneLegacy saves and heals lives through organ, eye and tissue donation, comforts the families we serve, and inspires our communities to Donate Life. OneLegacy envisions a day when we fulfill the needs of donor families and all who require organ, cornea or tissue transplants for their health and well-being.

We commit ourselves to continuously improve the quality of our practices, performance, and service to our communities.