ForHearts Worldwide is on a mission to save lives, and over the last 38 years, we have successfully saved over 17,000. Our International Heart Centers are where this mission is fulfilled.
“Here in the U.S., we administer the program, develop and nurture partnerships with donating device manufacturers, share our mission and fulfill all of the business aspects of our program” says Laura DeLise, Executive Director of ForHearts Worldwide. “But the human work, the lives saved, is done at our International Heart Centers. That is where we execute our mission, where we touch the lives of those in need, and provide the medical care that saves lives.”
Currently we have Heart Centers in six countries, including Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Philippines, Honduras, and Paraguay, and we are actively working to expand our locations to serve more in need.
Heart Centers are partner organizations operating year-round in their respective countries. In addition to following local laws and regulations, each Heart Center must also abide by the policies and procedures of ForHearts Worldwide. Our policies are designed to ensure both the safety of our patients and integrity of our operations. Most Heart Centers are operated entirely by local volunteers, including physicians, who donate their time and talents to care for patients in need. Heart Centers also establish relationships with local hospitals to ensure appropriate facilities are available for the procedures.
What Does it Take to Support a Heart Center?
Our Heart Centers succeed because of the partners around the world who contribute to our mission. These partners are the driving force behind our many Heart Centers.
Partners in Funding
Pacemaker implant surgery can cost $50,000 or more per patient. The ForHearts network of Heart Centers provides both the device and medical care, including the surgery and follow up care for the life of the device and patient, without cost to the patient.
One of the ways we ensure the longevity of our locations is to require annual dues from our local partners. We do not want to open a Heart Center unless we know we can sustain it long term,” says DeLise. The annual dues help defray the overall costs of the mission and ensure that each Heart Center can raise funds on its own.
Our Heart Centers are established and operated under their country’s non-profit or non-governmental organization rules and regulations. DeLise explains, “Each Heart Center is required to formalize into an organization and have a Board of Directors and fundraise to cover their annual dues. So, a great way to support a Heart Center is to become involved with the Board of the local entity that works with us and donate to help them cover the cost of the annual dues.” DeLise continues, “Board members don’t have to be doctors; they can be businessmen, concerned citizens—as long as they are interested in the goals and the mission of the organization. “If you do not live locally to one of our Heart Centers, you can still donate to ForHearts Worldwide and specify which Heart Center you would like to help.”
Partners in Operations
To ensure our operations are sustainable, many Heart Centers’ Board of Directors are connected to local service organizations.
Our Heart Center in the Philippines currently operates in three separate partner hospitals to facilitate pacemaker implant procedures, patient care and follow-up assistance. Our work in the Philippines started with the Rotary Club of Manila Bay sponsoring a Heart Center in collaboration with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) many years ago.
As former president of the Rotary Club of Manila Bay and current administrator of Heartbeat International Foundation of the Philippines, Camilo Ramirez has helped guide the direction and funding for our work in the Philippines for many years.
“With the active participation of the Rotary Club of Manila Bay in fundraising and other support activities, and after 16 years and 568 patients, Heartbeat International Foundation of the Philippines continues with its work of saving indigent lives beset with heart disease,” says Ramirez. “Our next target is 1,000 patients in five years.” The Rotary Club of Manila Bay is one of the biggest supporters of our mission and continues to guide their Heart Centers within local rules and regulations all the while working within ForHearts Worldwide operations standards.
Partners in Physicians
The support of our in-country partners, donors, and sponsors are what makes our Heart Centers possible. So, finding the right medical staff is crucial. Our physicians generously support our Heart Centers by giving their time and talent.
Mr. Ariel Garcia began working with ForHearts at a small Heart Center in Mexico, where he quickly realized the necessity of our organization. During that time, Mr. Garcia began to see the reality regarding patient needs in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Today, Mr. Garcia is the Director of Heartbeat International Foundation Latin America, building the medical teams that will serve patients in need throughout all of Mexico
“We build medical teams based on skill and their love of service,” says Mr. Garcia. “Knowing how to give not only their knowledge and experience but of themselves as well. That’s very important.”
Mr. Garcia explains this process, “first, we look for physicians who are capable and willing to give their time to others. Then, we bring them together with more experienced doctors in the ForHearts program in the country and train them in the practical administration of the program, such as using the devices in the most efficient ways to save the most lives possible.”
The physicians who choose to donate their time and services at our International Heart Centers not only benefit from the satisfaction of giving services to those in need, but also from being part of an organization dedicated to providing the latest innovations in pacemaker technology and investing in the future of cardiovascular care. Mr. Garcia continues, “we provide them with technological tools, training, and, through our sponsors, state-of-the-art programmers, so they have the latest technology to control and program all the devices. In addition, we invite them to prestigious congresses, including the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Rhythm Society.”
For Mr. Garcia, the most significant gain is watching the physicians, medical staff, social workers, administrators, and community partners come together to serve the greater mission of providing care ForHearts in need. “They are here to save lives, and that’s amazing!” says Mr. Garcia of each individual involved with our Heart Centers. He continues, “the doctors implanting the device save the life just as much as the person carrying out the administration of the Heart Center or providing the transportation because the person lives so far from the Heart Center…Everyone participates; everyone is part of the process…All of them are part of one of the most beautiful organizations in the world.”
You can be part of the process of saving lives by supporting our Heart Centers around the world here.