Enduring Hearts: Atlanta-based nonprofit helps kids with transplanted hearts

Heart Health Generic
Heart Health Generic(WILX)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 3:25 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Every year, about 40,000 babies in the U.S. are born with a form of heart disease.

It’s an illness that can affect anyone at any time, but for families with children in need of heart transplants the situation is especially dire.

“The average heart transplant only lasts 17 years,” explained Enduring Hearts Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Salvador. The Atlanta-based nonprofit is the only organization in the country focused on funding research aimed at improving the lives of children living with transplanted hearts.

“Enduring Hearts started with a Marietta-based family when their seemingly healthy 2-and-a-half year old went into heart failure. They took her to a hospital and were told at that point in time that she needed a heart transplant and back in 2013 a heart transplant was only lasting 11 years.”

Faced with the harsh reality of a temporary solution, founder Patrick Gahan and his family looked into organizations that were driving research towards finding more permanent solutions to pediatric heart defects.

“They looked around and there were a lot of amazing organizations but no one really trying to fund research to make a transplant last a lifetime,” Salvador shared.

Enduring Hearts focuses on funding critical research needed to eliminate organ rejection, prevent life-threatening complications and reduce the risk of needing a second transplant.

Since its launch, the non-profit has supported research in 55 different institutions, raising over $10 million.

“I think a lot of people think you get this heart transplant and you’re cured and what’s really compelling for these young children is that their lives are still often complicated and compromised because of what happened leading up to the transplant or afterwards when they’re given harsh immunosuppressant drugs that can harm their developing bodies. A lot of what we do can impact longevity,” Salvador explained.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

For more information about Enduring Hearts and ways you can support their mission, visit their website.