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Harboring Hearts Charity Ride Recap

Thank you for working out and sweating with me at the Charity Ride to benefit Harboring Hearts this past Sunday, January 26th!  With your support, we raised nearly $2,000!  Harboring Hearts and I are truly grateful.

The funds raised through these types of events support Harboring Hearts’ initiatives to provide emotional and financial support to vulnerable heart patients and their families in dire need of our assistance.  As I briefly mentioned at the event, we are providing a need not being met by other organizations.  Our goal for 2014 is to increase our impact within the NYC cardiac community.  We will accomplish this, with the help of your donations, by increasing our community reach through hospital events and fully utilizing our Emergency Fund Program.

If you are interested in making a donation to Harboring Hearts, please visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/harboringhearts or contact us at info@harboringhearts.org

By the way, check out some awesome pics from our event here at our Facebook page!

 
Yuki Kotani
Harboring Hearts Co-Founder

 

Be #KIND: Vote for Harboring Hearts!

harboringheartskindpromo

This month vote your heart out for Harboring Hearts! We are currently in the running to receive $10,000 from KIND Healthy Snacks that will go towards our Community Program for adult and pediatric heart patients and their families and caregivers.

To date, our Community Program has benefited more than 1,500 patients and their families, offering essential respite from daily medical routines. Should we win, we will launch a new component in the Community Program aimed at enhancing the long-term health of participants. This may include: health education, integrative therapy for adult patients and caregivers, or sessions on healthy eating and food preparation with a dietician.

Voting is easy and just requires one click at http://projects.kindsnacks.com/project/harboring-hearts to make a difference in the lives of heart patients around NYC! Voting will continue now through December 31st, so be sure to cast your vote and spread the word out to friends and family, too! ❤

Recap: The Legion of Hearts Community Event

Recap written by Meghan Arsenault and Deirdre Lombardi

Harboring Hearts teamed up with the American Heart Association, Sephora, and ZICO Pure Coconut Water to host the Legion of Hearts event in the pediatric cardiology department at Mount Sinai Hospital on October 7th, 2013. About 20 volunteers joined us to provide a morning filled with cheer, laughter, and a heart-healthy breakfast!

Monday (7)

Over 50 patients and their families were able to take a break from their busy day and medical routine to have their face painted or makeup and nails done by makeup artists from Sephora.

Monday (15)

Wonder Woman made a surprise appearance and helped patients decorate their very own superhero capes.

Monday (41)

Everyone was delighted when Sharon Bush arrived with Teddy Share Bears for the young patients.

Monday (102)

Skylar Brandt, from the American Ballet Theatre, made a little ballerina’s day by giving her a signed pair of ballet pointe shoes.

Monday (96)

Sunny Norton was able to capture the many memorable moments with his photography throughout the event. Many thanks to all of our guests, volunteers, and supporters who joined us to make the Legion of Hearts community event a huge success!

To get involved in future Harboring Hearts events and learn more about how you can help, email info@harboringhearts.org!

Photo Credit: Sunny Norton

#STARTARYOT with Harboring Hearts

 

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The #STARTARYOT Challenge to donate to charities in need ends in one week; thanks to your amazing efforts Harboring Hearts raised $13,061 so far–we’re nearly halfway to our goal!

We still need your help and generous donations for our Emergency Fund, and every little bit counts. Also, any donation of $10 enters you in a raffle to win VIP tickets to see Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys and John Meyer!

For more information and to make a donation, check out our campaign site and make a difference!

From My Heart to Yours: An Introduction

When you envision your senior year of high school, heart disease doesn’t exactly come to mind. It isn’t supposed to happen when you’re 16, co-captain of your tennis team, and have never spent a night in the hospital. It shouldn’t happen when you don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, or have high cholesterol.  But even without the typical risk factors, heart disease knows no rules, and it happened to me when I least expected it.

While out at dinner with my parents, the world suddenly started spinning and I thought I would pass out. There were pressure pains in my chest and neck and it felt like my arms were made of lead. When the dizziness subsided, I assumed it was an allergic reaction to the food, a minor passing episode. Until an ambulance took me to a local hospital and a cardiologist said the dreaded words:

“Massive heart attack.”

A blood clot had lodged in the artery leading to the left side of my heart was completely blocking blood flow. I had a 20-30% chance of dying right then. At a second hospital, I was crashing. My lungs were filling up with fluid, and the Last Rites were said for me because I wasn’t expected to live through the night.

Doctors managed to stabilize me in time to take me to a third hospital in hopes of having a heart transplant as a last resort. With a critical shortage of organs and tens of thousands of people waiting, no hearts could save me. They implanted a then-experimental Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) to pump the left side of my heart via battery power while I waited in hope for a transplant. Additional complications forced doctors to amputate my left leg in order to save my life.

Jessica Hospital Post Transplant

It was time to reclaim my life and face a new reality. After six weeks in the hospital, I returned to school and kept myself as busy as possible with classes, friends, and school activities. Nine months later, just days before my graduation ceremony, I received my second chance at life: a heart from an 18 year old named Shannon. Three months later, I was able to start Princeton University on time, and I went on to work in the organ donation field to help the many others still in need of a life-saving organ.

When Michelle and Yuki were co-founding Harboring Hearts, I became an original founding member and now serve on the Board of Directors. Harboring Hearts’ mission resonated deeply with me, thinking back to the many sleepless nights my parents spent by my side. They didn’t miss one night, often sleeping in my hospital room, and their support made such a huge difference in my recovery.  There are so many other families in need of the emotional and financial assistance that Harboring Hearts provides. I’m honored to share my story in an ongoing blog series to help give voice to the patient experience and address different topics that we often face. I look forward to getting to know you in the coming months!

Lopez Family NYP

Find me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter:   @jessicamelore

Recap of Recent Community Events, & How You Can Get Involved!

Harboring Hearts was able to help make February a little sweeter for over 450 pediatric patients and their families at two New York City hospitals through our Community Events initiative. These events create a warm, welcoming atmosphere, solidarity, and network of support for pediatric cardiac patients and their families.

On February 14th, Harboring Hearts participated in a community event at Montefiore Medical Center. The Grand Hall of the Bronx facility was home to shiny red heart balloons, Valentine’s cards, toys and board games, an information booth about Harboring Hearts, and more. Fun music played as children danced, had their faces painted, and ate a warm meal sponsored by Harboring Hearts. Many doctors, former patients, social workers, and caregivers attended as well.

 

Pediatric heart patients and families gathering together at Montefiore.

 

Parachute Fun!

 

Shayla Frandsen, Gacia Tachejian, and Michelle Javian at Montefiore Community Event

 

On February 19th, Harboring Hearts was at Mount Sinai Hospital participating in our second community event of the month. It was called a community event, but it was more like a party! Pediatric cardiothoracic surgery and interventional patients and their families enjoyed a variety of activities, booths, decorations, games, and music. Harboring Hearts donated and served delicious food to attendees, and we were even able to meet up with former beloved patients and friends!

 

Michelle Javian with a cute heart patient.

 

Gacia Techejian, Shayla Frandsen, and Michelle Javian at Montefiore.

 

Co-founders Michelle Javian and Yuki Kotani reunite with a family Harboring Hearts has recently helped.

 

Shayla Frandsen & Mikelle Kennedy at Mount Sinai Hospital community event.

 

Ira Parness, MD, and Chief of Division of Pediatric Cardiology said of the Mount Sinai event, “We had a huge and HAPPY crowd of children and families today . . . It was heartwarming that so many patients took out time from their busy lives to attend this party. There was a sense of joy and gratitude as the patients and their parents embraced their caregivers at Sinai.”

Many thanks to all of you for joining with us to help give back and make a difference in the lives of these families! We would not be able to participate in events like these without your continued contributions and support. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can volunteer at our next community event, please email us at info@harboringhearts.org.

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Heart Healthy and Delicious Fall Recipe!

“Oil-Optional” Vegetable Chili with Hemp Seeds

by Rebecca Johnson, Certified Plant-Based Nutrition & Wellness Expert, The Plant Rich Life

 

There’s nothing like a great chili to kick-off the Fall season as the temperatures begin to cool. Although beans grow best in the winter, easily storing them for later in the year is one of their great appeals for meal budgeting and planning. Beans are a filling, comforting option for a heart healthy meal. This recipe includes the nuttiness of hemp seeds, which lower “bad” cholesterol and provide more Omega 6. Hemp seeds can be eaten as a snack, and they make a great topping for salads and stir frys.

1 quart low sodium vegetable broth

½ cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbls tomato paste

1 cup tomato sauce

3 tbls agave nectar

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika powder

1 tbls oregano, fresh and dried

1tbls thyme, fresh or dried

½ tsp Himalayan sea salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp black pepper

1 small celery stalk, chopped fine

7 sun dried tomato halves, chopped fine (optional)

¼ cup bell pepper, red or green

2 cups red beans

½ tsp jalapeno pepper, minced

Additional Vegetable Broth as needed

1 tsp coconut oil (optional) can be added to onion, garlic mixture if no health concerns exist.

Soak beans overnight. Rinse beans and boil in low sodium vegetable broth. Sautee onions and garlic in ½ cup vegetable broth. After five minutes, sprinkle with a dash of salt. Cook for another five minutes. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, agave and spices, stir well. Add vegetables, then beans and simmer for 45 minutes. Add vegetable broth as needed.

After your meal masterpiece is complete, scoop the warm chili into your favorite bowl served over brown rice, quinoa or millet.  You can also add chopped Swiss Chard or any dark green to balance the look and flavor. (Did you know you can roast the ribs and add them too?)  Yum!

Nutrition Facts

 Beans have B-complex vitamins niacin and folate, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber and help to decrease inflammation.

 Hemp seeds contain all 10 essential amino acids and 3 tablespoons have 11 grams of protein! Plus they have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (healthy) fat. In addition, hemp seeds contain GLA (gamma linolenic acid), an especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat that helps lower LDL cholesterol and improve cholesterol ratio.

Ingredients like hemp seeds are becoming much more available in neighborhood markets. Otherwise, they can be found at any health food store and most specialty food markets.

 About Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca started cooking with her chef Dad when she was 6 years old. But it wasn’t until he fell at 63 to a heart attack and she was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition that she discovered the connection between nutrition and health. After decades in restaurants, catering and health-related roles, she received a Certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University and became a Certified Health Minister at Hallelujah Acres.

Now, Rebecca teaches nutrition education and culinary classes in NYC public and charter schools through Plant Rich Life and plans healthy cooking classes and cooking demonstrations for Fortune 500 clients and non-profits through the event company, Celebrevents, LLC.

Plant Rich Life provides creative wellness solutions to help people transition from a low-nutrient Sad American Diet (SAD) rich in fat, sugar and animal protein to a nutrient-dense, low fat, plant protein HAPPY diet that restores and maintains health. Find recipes, nutrition information and more on Rebecca’s blog at www.phytalitycoach.com, on the Web at www.plantrichlife.com and on Facebook at The Plant Rich Life.

Meet Peter Christodoulou

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts. Without the help of our amazing board members, volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

Forward by Yuki Kotani

As our Spring Gala fast approaches, we want to recognize people who have been essential to ensuring that the event would be a success.  For the second time, we are holding another exciting event at the Rubin Museum of Art and we want to thank Peter Christodoulou for securing us the venue.  The museum is beautiful with amazing Tibetan and Himalayan art work.  The peaceful yet trendy ambience has been one of the best venue choices for Harboring Hearts.

We want to thank Peter for his continued support and dedication to the organization.  Please read about our amazing volunteer, Peter Christodoulou. 

——————————————————————————————————

Name – Peter Christodoulou

Current Occupation – Finance, specifically Asset Management at Credit Suisse

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? – I have been friends with Michelle Javian, one of the co-founders of Harboring Hearts, ever since I met her at the airport. We were both returning from vacation in Greece, and we shared a few common connections which we discovered while waiting in the taxi line! We continued to stay in touch, and as I discovered Harboring Hearts I immediately took an interest in the organization’s mission and helping out any way I could.

How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully? – My career keeps me quite busy, but helping Harboring Hearts has always been a rewarding experience and it has never been hard to find time to help (especially given how fun Harboring Hearts events are!). I am generally most useful with event hosting and planning, and I am always able to catch up after regular working hours or when my work load is low.

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience?  – My greatest inspiration is watching other people with the drive to succeed, specifically in watching others who manage challenging projects from an idea all the way to completion. I see this in colleagues, my closest friends, my fiancée, and my family. I’ve also seen such drive from the volunteers at Harboring Hearts, and it is this drive which is part of the reason I am involved with the organization. Having seen multiple fundraising events worked on by volunteers who truly feel motivated by the organization’s mission, I am myself motivated to make each and every event even better.

What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts? – I have been a member of the host committee for various Harboring Hearts events. My favorite was the first event at the Rubin Museum since I helped secure the venue. The space and the turn out made for a fantastic and successful night!

Peter’s Favorites:

  • Favorite City? New York City
  • Favorite Food? Italian (especially spaghetti with pesto)
  • Favorite Activity? Travel
  • Favorite Music? Classic rock
  • Favorite Museum? Museum of Moving Image
  • Favorite Travel Destination? Greek islands
  • Favorite Movie? A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Spring Gala – May 22, 2012

We hope you will join us at the 2012 Harboring Hearts Spring Gala to be held on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.

This year, Harboring Hearts is thrilled to honor Dr. Yoshifumi Naka, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at New York Presbyterian and Associate Professor at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, and Dr. Donna Mancini, Medical Director, Professor of Medicine and Sudhir Choudhrie Professor of Cardiology at the Center for Advanced Cardiac Care at Columbia University Medical Center.  Dr. Naka and Dr. Mancini, along with the entire cardiac team at New York Presbyterian, work tirelessly to provide the best care for their patients.  It is because of these efforts that peers recognize them as leaders in their fields.

 

With special performances by American Idol alum Clay Aiken, The New York Pops, DJs Nick Cohen and Alexandra Richards, this event promises to be an exciting and memorable evening for all!  So come and support Harboring Hearts and our honorees and enjoy cocktails, food, entertainment, and dancing.

 

You can purchase an advance ticket online.

 

We hope to see you on May 22nd!

 

Harboring Hearts RSVP

 

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Meet Erica Lynn Young

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts. Without the help of our amazing board members, volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

I have known Erica Young since our high school days of running 4x200s on our track & field team.  Since relocating to NYC, our bond has grown stronger as we connected over stories about our lives as an entrepreneur!

She has inspired me with her passion for her company/industry and her remarkable business acumen.  She has brought the same level of commitment to Harboring Hearts from creating the fundamental structure of our social media strategy to assisting with numerous events.

Thank you Erica for your continued support and for dedicating your time to Harboring Hearts.  Read below to learn more about our fabulous volunteer.

——————————————————————————————————

Name – Erica Lynn Young

Current Occupation – Social Media and Higher Education Consultant and Founder of the soon to launch TruthandFashion.com

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? – The Co-founder of HH, Yuki Kotani, has been a personal friend of mine before we both relocated to New York City.  When I heard about HH’s mission (to provide affordable, temporary housing for cardiac patients during a time of need) and the founder’s personal stories of dealing with heart disease, I knew I had to help.

How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully? – It is definitely not always easy.  Now that I am launching my second startup and my consulting work is starting to really take off, it seems to get harder and harder to find a balance.  The life of a NYC entrepreneur though means that you are incredibly motivated to accomplish your goals; it becomes almost an insatiable hunger.  There are certain time periods that are slower in consulting; I try to fill that time by giving back.  It is, in a way, how I say thank you for all of the blessings that I have had in my life.

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience? – It is so hard to pick one person for this. I believe different stages of my life have been greatly inspired by different people, not solely one constant as life is always evolving and, especially in NYC, moves faster and faster.  I have been fortunate to have some great mentors and friends that have inspired me in so many ways.

I would say that my greatest inspiration is an idea; the idea that anything is achievable.  It is what keeps me dreaming, keeps me moving, keeps me thinking, keep me loving.  I am inspired by what people can do when they really put their minds to it.  I love reading stories about how people championed adversity in their own lives.  If you want a change, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts? – I have helped Harboring Hearts with their Masquerade Ball, Theory and Jessie James Shopping Events, and the Harboring Hearts Summer Fete.  I love looking back at these successful events knowing that are work has directly helped to support heart patients and their families in need.  Also, all of the HH volunteers are so ambitious and inspiring. They are a wonderful group of people to work with and really make planning these events such a joy.

Your Favorites:

  • Favorite city : New York for work, Paris for love, and Istanbul for adventure
  • Favorite food : Levain Cookies
  • Favorite activity: Playing Volleyball
  • Favorite music: My Florence and The Machine channel on Pandora
  • Favorite museum: MoMa
  • Favorite travel destination: The place I have not been.
  • Favorite book: Hard to pick one, but I have always loved “A Moveable Feast” by Earnest Hemingway as I read it at such poignant time.