Angel Heart International News & Events

2017 AHI 10-Year Anniversary
By Celine Phong
Angel Heart International’s 10 year anniversary celebration was held on February 4th, 2017 at Pacific Academy. The room was filled with over 200 excited guests who came from around the country and from China for this special night. Guests included some of our many volunteers, donors, past board members, and organization supporters. The concert began with a beautiful candle-lit singing performance of “Fill the World with Love.” Following the opening piece, Pacific Academy Principal, Keith Corpus, and President of Angel Heart International, Jennifer Yang, welcomed the guests. Concert hosts Kelly Chu (Director of Pacific Academy) and Umi Garrett (one of the performing pianists for the evening) introduced the pieces for the night. The pieces that followed were performed by the Pacific Academy Chamber Orchestra and pianists Umi Garrett, Phoebe Pan, and Allison To. Each performance was dedicated to a special group of people who had volunteered their time for AHI such as our doctors in China, our gracious donors, our founder Dr. Lee, and our volunteers in China and in the US. A beautiful slide show was played during each piece, recognizing the group of people whom the piece was dedicated to.

One of our special guests of the night was Dr. Tao You, the Director of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Gansu Province People’s Hospital in China. He highlighted the importance of AHI’s and the hospital’s joint effort to bring care to underserved children. The doctors and nurses from Gansu who could not make it to the celebration that night shared their heartwarming messages via video. Christine Fontana, a representative from Edwards Lifesciences, also shared her excitement and congratulations for the years of successful collaboration between our organizations. Mrs. Niu was recognized for her dedication as a volunteer for Angel Heart for 10 years, and former Angel Heart president Alina Yang spoke from her experience as our organization’s first student volunteer.

One of our past patients, Lina Zhu, had also traveled from China to speak on behalf of AHI’s patients and families. As a representative for the children AHI has helped, she expressed her gratitude and hope for many more 10-year milestones to come in AHI’s future. Having experienced such care and support through AHI, Zhu Lina became a volunteer for the organization as well. She described how the love that she received from AHI inspired her, and she hopes to share this love with others in the same way. In a touching moment, Zhu Lina was reunited with US volunteers Michelle Ding, Jennifer Yang, and Tianyi Chen, who met her as volunteers but became her good friends. They had supported her and her family as she prepared for her surgery back in August 2009. 

Several volunteers were recognized for their dedication in carrying out AHI’s mission. The recipients were as follows:

·     Volunteer of the Year: Kimberly Shi

·     Volunteer Group of the Year: Edwards Lifesciences China

·     Fundraising Award: Pacific Academy

·     Leadership Award: Helen Lu

·     Best Presentation: Carissa Chen

A total of $40,000 was raised during the event, giving many more children the opportunity for a brighter and more vibrant future. Your support and compassion has made AHI’s mission possible these past 10 years, and we remain committed to providing love and care to our growing AHI family in the coming years. Thank you for being with us!

Third Quarterly Report

Dear Angel Heart volunteers, donors, and supporters:  Enclosed here you will find AHI's report for the third quarter of 2016. During this quarter, AHI sponsored the surgeries for nine children. We held our largest CaringGroup Trip since the program was established, the details of which can be found within the report as well as online.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Warmest regards, Jennifer Yang President, Angel Heart International, Inc.

Click here to download the Third Quarterly Report!

2016 Gansu Trip Report

Angel Heart International (AHI) 2016 Gansu volunteer trip took place from July 30th to August 3rd. Since AHI's partnering hospital, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery of Gansu Province People's Hospital, held a medical conference in July, we combined our usual two summer trips together to accommodate the doctors' busy schedule. As a result, this year's program consisted of the largest Gansu visiting group in AHI's history, with 39 youth and parent volunteers -- 30 from the US and 9 from Shanghai. 

The trip started with the usual pre-surgery hospital visit. Three children were scheduled to receive surgery on August 1rst: Kang Heng, a 5-year-old boy; Wang Meng, a 5-year-old girl; and Zhang Jiale, a 6-year-old boy. Volunteers greeted the children and families and gave gifts to the patients. AHI volunteer Bryan Lu found a special connection with Wang Meng over their shared talent for art, and the two promised to exchange drawings after her operation. Volunteers also visited Ma Zuoling, a 7-year-old girl recovering from surgery. 

On July 31rst, the volunteers attended AHI's annual reunion with previous patients and families at the Dingxi Hospital for Chinese Medicine. Veteran AHI volunteer Dr. Zhang Rui, head of Dingxi's medical administration office and known by AHI volunteers as Principal Zhang, hosted the meeting. Pacific Academy and Edwards Lifesciences, key sponsors of AHI, were invited to make a special speech during the reunion. Sharing their mutual support and compassion, AHI volunteers who walked alongside our patients in their path to recovery took to the podium as well. 

In 2016, AHI awarded a record high number of scholarships. Six of AHI's previous patients received the scholarship: Wang Bangzhou (received surgery in 2010), Zhu Lina (received surgery in 2009), and Qi Jingjing (received surgery in 2014) received the college scholarship award of 5000 RMB. Liu Weijun (received surgery in 2008), Zhang Hongxia (received surgery in 2010 and award from 2015's special scholarship campaign, and Ran Lihong (received surgery in 2008) were awarded the high school scholarship of 2000 RMB. More than 200 people attended the reunion, making for our largest group photo yet and a warmth-filled volunteer and patient get-together after the official meeting. 

After the reunion, the volunteer group conducted a family visit to potential patient Zhu Ke's home. Zhu Ke is a 5-month-old boy diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect and Ventricular Septal Defect. Due to his very young age, surgery will be arranged after he grows to over 18 lbs. in weight in order to minimize the surgery risk.

Volunteers spent the final two hours in Dingxi arranging technical school enrollment for Wang Chunhua (received surgery in 2012). After securing enrollment at Weinan Rail Transportation School, Chunhua will be awarded AHI's seventh scholarship of 2016 for continuing education. Her dream is to become a staff member on the bullet train. 

Three surgeries were performed on August 1rst: Kang Heng, Wang Meng, and Zhang Jiale. The volunteers organized into three groups to accompany each patient's family during the surgery. Kang Heng's and Wang Meng's surgeries began in the morning, followed by Zhang Jiale's procedure. Kang Heng's surgery went smoothly, and he was back in the ICU shortly after noontime. Zhang Jiale's and Wang Meng's surgeries were more difficult than expected. Wang Meng's surgery did not finish until late afternoon while it was near evening before Zhang Jiale's surgery was complete. It was very difficult time for the families, and AHI volunteers did their best to accompany and comfort the families. 

Unfortunately, Wang Meng developed complications later and passed away at 1:30AM on August 2nd due to cardiac system failure. AHI's volunteers were shocked and saddened to receive the news of Wang Meng's passing in the early morning. Wang Meng's passing was the first failed patient surgery in AHI's nine year history of supporting CHD children. Upon discussion with AHI leadership, the previously scheduled family visit and follow-up visit on August 2nd were cancelled in order for AHI to provide as much help as possible to Wang Meng's family. In this difficult time, our hearts and prayers are with Wang Meng's family for their loss. Wang Meng was a lovely and compassionate girl, and no words can fully express our condolences to the family and the feeling of loss of all our volunteers involved. 

After seeing the rapidly recovering Kang Heng and Zhang Jiale on August 3rd, the 2016 AHI summer Gansu trip drew to a close. However, the loss of Wang Meng heavily lingered in every volunteer's heart. 

AHI asks our supporters and volunteers to pray for our little angel's soul and for her family during this unbearable time. We vow to continue our commitment and support for underserved CHD children against the high risk of the cardiac surgery that is essential to saving their lives. Going forwards, we are more dedicated than ever to helping our partners advance their technology and reduce such risks through our medical care program. 



Angel Heart Intl.'s Second Quarterly Report of 2016

The Angel Heart International (AHI) team has made several steps toward our goal to make AHI’s volunteers and supporters even more connected, engaged, and informed as a community. 

Alongside AHI’s commitment to serving children who suffer from congenital heart disease (CHD) and have little or no access to medical care, we have also been dedicated to improving the treatment and diagnosis of CHD. We aim to further the education and training available to AHI’s collaborating surgeons at the Gansu Provincial People’s Hospital. 

For several years, AHI has sent delegates to the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) Annual Meeting with the support of AATS. At this conference, our collaborating medical professionals have joined renowned experts and cardiothoracic professionals in learning about emerging technologies and advancements in the field. This year in May, AHI had the pleasure of continuing its attendance at the AATS Annual Meeting, allowing our delegates to enhance their knowledge of new techniques and long term treatment outcomes.

AHI’s Gansu Caring Group Trip participants have also been selected for the upcoming trip at the end of July. Throughout the trip, our volunteers will keep a journal of their work and experiences as they provide support for our patients. Updates will be posted onto our Facebook page with details and images. 

In support of our mission to provide care for underprivileged children suffering from CHD, the Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation has awarded AHI a grant amount of $30,000. We are tremendously thankful for the continuing support we have received from the Capital Group Companies, which has helped us to improve our patient care programs each year. 

For more information and updates, please visit our website and Facebook page. In June, we started a new monthly feature on Facebook to introduce you to each of our board members. Please feel free to drop by and meet our directors! Thank you for your support. 

With love, 

Jennifer Yang 

President, Angel Heart International, Inc.

Click here to download the Second Quarterly Report! 

Angel Heart Intl.'s First Quarterly Report of 2016

Dear Angel Heart volunteers, donors, and supporters:

It is my vision to make 2016 the year of many exciting “firsts" for Angel Heart International, and with this, I invite you to read our very first Quarterly Report, enclosed her

Within this report, you will find a summary of AHI’s activities in the first quarter of 2016. Important items to note in the report are: an updated overview of AHI’s leadership, AHI's 2015 Annual Report and Winter 2015 Newsletter (both now available online), new patients, and—as ever—the incredible compassion of our donors.

We are tremendously grateful to have your support in carrying out Angel Heart’s mission.

With love,

Jennifer Yang
President, Angel Heart International, Inc.

Click here to read the First Quarterly Report! 

2015 Annual Report

Annual Meeting 2015 Summary

With the New Year celebrations still lingering in mind, the Angel Heart family gathered at UC Irvine for their 2015 year recap and commemoration. Kicked off by the amazing violin performance of the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto (Liang Zhu) by violin teacher Zhong Ying, volunteers were taken through the music and through their roots with the lyrical and moving playing.

This year’s MC Haotian Xu then officially began the meeting by introducing long-time parent volunteer An Lan, who set the stage for the meeting. An Lan eloquently retold the tale of Dr. Shouyan Lee’s experience with his daughter’s congenital heart disease (CHD), and how it fueled his determination in bringing Angel Heart International to life as a non profit organization dedicated to giving children living in Gansu, China a means to get the much needed medical attention for their congenital heart conditions.

Having gone back to the roots of the AHI story, the meeting then progressed onwards, reflecting on the 2015 year. After the new board members were introduced, Vice Presidents Tiffany Wu and Yvonne Lu thanked all the AHI donors for another year of generosity and support. Moving right along, President Jennifer Yang gave her State of the Union speech. Though the new president congratulated us on a successful year, President Yang urged volunteers, new and old, to plow onwards and achieve more in the upcoming year. Leading by example, she made it clear that the success of the organization, and the depth of relationship between volunteer and patient, are solely dependent on the willingness of the volunteers to reach out and make a change.

Fueled by the new leadership, Dr. Tang of the University of California, Irvine was then invited to the stage to share his personal journey in tying together the UCI students with the AHI organization. Having met Dr. Lee at an Edwards Foundation awards ceremony, the professor was then introduced to AHI’s incredible mission and goal. Intrigued, he then incorporated his own students into the program, hosting separate Gansu trips to give his students an opportunity to be apart of the journey. The relationship and partnership between UCI and AHI is a strong one, bonded by student groups and Gansu trips. Through reminiscence of the past year’s accomplishments and trips taken by the UCI students, a newer and higher standard was set for the upcoming year.

After a short but heartwarming video shown by Dr. Lee about the struggle ofQi Jingjing and her struggle for health, the meeting then covered the 2015 Gansu trips. Headed by Helen Lu, the presentation included insights and experiences from volunteers Carissa Chen and Bryan Lu whom had attended the June trip to Gansu. Although the individual lessons shared by the volunteers varied in their own ways, the overall message of community, family, and the warmth between volunteer and patient emanated from the presentation.  

Finally, the meeting concluded by celebrating accomplishments made in the past year by distinguished volunteers. These individuals include:

  • Best Presentation: Phoebe Pan

  • Best Journal/Diary (English): Carissa Chen

  • Best Journal/Diary (Chinese): Ci (Cherry) Ren

  • Best Fundraising Efforts: Pacific Academy

  • Leadership of the Year: Haotian Xu

  • Volunteer of the Year: Helen Lu and UCI

  • Special Recognition for Dedicated Service and Leadership: Annie Wang and Alina Yang

2015 was a great year for Angel Heart International. Adding to the growing list of cured patients from congenital heart disease, the year strengthened existing bonds between cultures and established new bonds where there were none. In addition to reflecting and celebrating a year of successes, the annual meeting invigorated volunteers and their families to do more, reach farther, and create stronger bonds.