With Harboring Hearts Founder Michelle Javian

With Harboring Hearts Founder Michelle Javian

Years ago, I became a founding member of Harboring Hearts when founder Michelle Javian and co-founder Yuki Kotani were in the process of building it. We realized that there were needs in healthcare that need to be addressed – things like housing so families could be close to their loved ones when they were getting heart surgery instead of sleeping every night in a hospital room, or funding for day to day things like transportation, gas, and meals. Nine years later, I’m so proud to see how much we’ve grown under the direction of our president Missy Shields Rahman. Our annual benefit at Lincoln Center always brings together a community of patients, families, medical partners, and supporters that reminds me what it’s all about.

One of our honorees this year was Amy Sherald, a heart transplant recipient and artist known for painting Michelle Obama’s portrait. I’ve found I’ve always had a special connection with other heart recipients, and Amy was no exception.

With Amy Sherald, artist and heart transplant recipient.

With Amy Sherald, artist and heart transplant recipient.

We also honored Dr. MaryJane Farr, a transplant cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian whom I’ve known many years and who treated both Michelle and Yuki’s fathers. Her moving speech was a reflection of the humanity she brings to her work and how she cares for patients. Joining us in the picture below is Dr. Paolo Columbo, whom we honored at last year’s benefit.

With MaryJane Farr, MD, and Paolo Columbo, MD

With NewYork-Presbyterian transplant cardiologists MaryJane Farr, MD, and Paolo Columbo, MD

 

One of my favorite things about the gala is getting to meet some of the families Harboring Hearts has helped. I always love seeing Izabella and her mom, Evelyn – Izabella received a transplant when she was 18 months old and is now thriving as a beautiful 6 year old girl. It’s knowing that in the most trying times that we’re able to give families a piece of their lives back, to help them get them through the day, that makes it all worth it.

With Izabella and her mom Evelyn.

With Izabella and her mom Evelyn.