Angel’s Pediatric Heart House had it’s 4th Annual “Toes in the Sand” Shrimp Boil on the Beach fundraiser on Saturday, April 6, 2013. During the fun-filled and laid-back event, guests enjoyed all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp and fixin’s, beer, wine and steel drum music while supporting APHH.
To see smiles on all the faces and people having a great time just goes to show how strong the human spirit really is when our human hearts might be a little weak. Community support and people offering a helping hand isn’t that what it is really all about?
Funds raised from this year’s event will fund the Financial Assistance Program for families in crisis during their child’s extended hospital stay for heart surgery. The fund helps families meet basic human needs – food, rent, utilities, transportation, etc.
Dr. Redmond Burke, Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at Miami Children’s Hospital was the guest of honor and this year’s recipient of the “Healing Heart Award” for his outstanding work, compassion and service to children with CHD and their families. Three year old Nathaniel Thomas, one of Dr. Burke’s patients, received the “Heart of a Champion” Award. Nathaniel was taken by life flight to Miami Children’s Hospital immediately after birth and at 17 hours old underwent open heart surgery and another open heart surgery at 3 months.
Angel’s Pediatric Heart House was created in February of 2004 by Sonia Perez. Sonia’s late husband, Dr. Angel R. Perez, was a pediatric cardiologist in the South Florida area. Dr. Perez was a respected cardiologist amongst his colleagues and loved by the families he served. In 1999, Dr. Perez was diagnosed with kidney cancer; and in January of 2000, Dr. Perez succumbed to his illness. He left behind a wife and two daughters.
In September of 2000, Mrs. Perez and her daughters hosted a picnic for the families that were under his care. What was really special that day was that parents and children got an opportunity to meet and socialize with other families affected by CHD in a casual and fun atmosphere. The picnic became an annual event, but it became clear that the families needed more than just an annual event, they needed a place outside of the hospital or physician’s office where they could come together and offer each other social and emotional support throughout the year.
Angel’s Pediatric Heart House is a non-residential, congenital heart defects support community. It is a place where the entire family—parents, CHD child, siblings and relatives—can come together and join others affected by CHD to give hope and encouragement and to share their experiences. We look forward to seeing you there.