Dr. Michael Omidi profiles an everyday hero, Michelle Javian, who has founded an organization that provides aid to families struggling to manage when a loved one suffers from a major cardiac event.
When a family member suffers from a serious medical event, it is often extremely difficult for family members to cope with peripheral needs. If a loved one requires the care of specialists that aren’t located within reasonable distance, the family must then find a means of transportation for the patient, accommodations for themselves, food and possibly child care. Time taken off work might further impede their ability to pay these costs. Michelle Javian underwent a similar experience when her own father had a heart attack, and subsequently spent two years in and out of hospitals.
Although Javian and her family lived close to the hospital where her father received his treatment, many other families she encountered in the waiting rooms did not live a convenient distance. Some couldn’t afford to stay in hotels, and had to sleep in the waiting rooms and bathe in public lavatories. It was this experience that inspired Javian to found Harboring Hearts, an organization that helps families of patients suffering from serious heart disease.
Harboring Hearts helps to fund childcare, meals, hotel rooms and transportation; things that struggling families aren’t able to cover due to their emergency circumstances. Moreover, depending on the situation, Harboring Hearts can also help pay outstanding bills that the families cannot afford due to extraneous expenses and possibly having to stop working. The Emergency Support Program offers aid in the form of assistance grants.
Harboring Hearts also has a Community Support Program, which offers more than 2,500 patients’ families help with coping with the enormity of their situations.
Since Harboring Hearts was founded in 2009, the organization has covered over $150,000 in expenses for families. Moreover, the nonprofit hosts events where families who have endured similar trials can get together.
Javian’s father passed away in 2008. Harboring Hearts is Javian’s way of serving both her father’s memory and her community.
We are inspired by everyday people’s efforts to turn heartrending situations into vehicles of hope and support for others. Michelle Javian, although frightened and heartbroken by her father’s ordeal, managed to open up her awareness to other people in her immediate environs in similar circumstances, and develop a valuable resource that has succeeded in giving relief to hundreds of families. He hope that others are inspired by her efforts, and that she and her organization continue to make their community stronger.
 Dunn, Meghan: A lifeline for families hit by heart disease CNN.com 5/29/2014 http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/29/health/cnnheroes-javian/index.html