Hearts For Emma is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization based in Cranford, New Jersey.
Hearts For Emma was founded by Nancie and Mark Rothman in 2012 after their daughter Emma went into sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 12 and required a life saving heart transplant. The Rothmans were inspired by the community that rallied around them during their ordeal. They also realized there is a lack of information available regarding organ donation.
Hearts For Emma has a dual mission to:
* Provide assistance to families of children with heart disease.
* Support educational initiatives relating to heart transplantation and organ and tissue donation.
What We Do
Hearts For Emma's work has impacted families from all over the United States, and in some cases all over the world.
Hearts For Emma created, fully funds and operates a Family Assistance "Bedside Giving" program for families with infants, children and adolescents with heart disease while they are in the hospital. Hearts For Emma created its "Bedside Giving Program" as a family-centered approach to help enable parents to take care of their child and themselves while in crisis. The program is currently offered in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and Neonatal Cardiac Unit at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.
Hearts For Emma's "Bedside Giving Program" helps families in areas that are important but often forgotten while they are dealing with the trauma of caring for a sick child in the hospital. The program currently assists families in the hospital in the following ways:
* Emma's Closet: Provides toiletries to families who arrive at the hospital without any personal items or who have had children admitted for extended stays.
* Meal Support: Gives gift cards to area food establishments for families whose children are admitted for extended stays at the hospital. Meals in New York City are quite expensive and families use the meal cards to eat while staying at the hospital to be with their children.
* Care Bags: Provides care bags with a Hearts For Emma fleece blanket, Chapstick lip balm, eye mask, journal, pen, soft tissues and ear plugs to families to make their hospital stay more comfortable.
* Monthly Breakfasts: A catered breakfast is served in the hospital units for the families, siblings and medical staff there. By providing breakfast, families can stay bedside, where they want to be, and not have to leave the building to purchase food.
* Monthly Afternoon Snacks: Snack times of cookies and coffee for families for a "pick me up" during the long days of hospital stays.
* # It's Your Room: Purchases decorative items for patients to hang on their walls (i.e. poster, pennants, lights etc.) or attach to a crib (i.e. mobiles, infant toys) to personalize their hospital rooms.
* Beads of Courage Art Therapy Program: Hearts For Emma invests in this art therapy program to acknowledge all the different aspects of hospital life that patients at pediatric cardiac units are dealing with. Beads of Courage is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families coping with serious illness. Through the program children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path.
* Infant Supplies & Furnishings: Hearts For Emma provides supplies and furnishings for the Neonatal Cardiac Intensive Care Unit including elevated chairs so parents can stay seated and still touch their babies; night lights; white noise machines; crib mirrors, infant mobiles; nursery projectors, vibrating soothers; and bibs and onesie footed pajamas along with art supplies to decorate them.
* Pediatric Unit Supplies & Furnishings: Hearts For Emma provides supplies and furnishings for the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit including portable DVD players, iPod Touches, iTune gift cards, decks of cards, magazine racks and magazine subscriptions and a significant donation towards furniture for the Family Lounge.
Hearts For Emma volunteers are hands on - they personally select, purchase, and arrange for all of the programs and services offered as part of the "Bedside Giving" Program. Hearts For Emma volunteers work closely with Child Life Specialist social workers and medical staff at the hospital to identify the unmet needs of families currently in the hospital units and to develop strategies to meet these needs. Hearts For Emma volunteers also regularly visit with families at the hospital to solicit their feedback and provide encouragement and support.
Hearts For Emma's second, and equally important, priority is education, awareness and advocacy relating to heart transplantation and organ and tissue donation.
Hearts For Emma collaborated with the New Jersey Sharing Network to develop a curriculum and supporting materials to educate people, particularly high school students, about what it means to be an organ donor and why the need for organ donation is so important. Emma Rothman shared her own heart transplant journey and narrated an 8-minute video called, "You Have The Power To Save Lives". Emma also co-authored a companion brochure which was so well-received that it has been translated into Spanish, Creole, Hindi and Korean.
In June 2015, Hearts For Emma created a Partner Fund within New Jersey Sharing Network Foundation to support initiatives related to complying with the High School Hero Act of New Jersey which mandates each driver's education class to teach about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
Hearts For Emma recently created a college scholarship fund within the New Jersey Sharing Network Foundation for college-bound students who have been impacted by organ donation which will be available for the 2019/2020 school year.
Hearts For Emma provides yearly funding for the Hearts for Emma Lecture at the Critical Care in Cardiac Advancement Conference. We believe that by supporting medical education, our children will reap the benefits from their cardiac team when the team is able to stay current/learn about the newest critical care practices in cardiology available.
The Hearts for Emma also funds a Nursing Scholarship. The scholarship was awarded for the first time to be used in the calendar year 2016 for a nurse practitioner or registered nurse to further their education in the specialty of pediatric cardiology.