Like so many movements that result in change, the idea to create Heartbeat International Foundation was born out of unnecessary tragedy. It was in the early 1980’s that Dr. Frederico Alfaro experienced the death of a young patient in Guatemala whose family could not afford the lifesaving intervention needed to repair his easily treatable heart condition. Shattered by this senseless and preventable loss of life, Dr. Alfaro reached out to fellow physician, Dr. Henry D. McIntosh, to develop a solution: Heartbeat International Foundation. With over 1 million people around the world suffering the same fate as Dr. Alfaro’s young patient every year, the two doctors knew that they had a lot of work to do.

It has been 37 years since the launch of the Heartbeat International Foundation non-profit organization, and despite the myriad of challenges brought on by Covid, Heartbeat International Foundation’s network of skilled and generous physicians, facilities, donors, and volunteers are more dedicated than ever to continue to make a difference across the globe. Heartbeat International Foundation focuses its philanthropic work on making lifesaving pacemakers and a lifetime of post-operative care available to patients in need around the globe.

Pacemakers are used to treat heart rhythm disorders, which have a number of causes and can be related to a number of conditions. Fortunately, pacemaker implantations are considered to be very safe and very effective. However, the cost of the device, surgery, and follow up care are prohibitive for countless families around the world; modern medical estimates place the cost of the device and procedure close to $60,000. This is where the magic of Heartbeat International Foundation comes in.

Over the past four decades, under the leadership of numerous chairmen, including current Chairman Dr. Benedict S. Maniscalco, the non-profit has evolved into a vast network of physicians, hospitals and volunteers all donating their time and resources to help save lives. Of course, generous gifts from both individual donors, as well as large corporations, also play a large part in keeping the Heartbeat International Foundation mission alive. Heartbeat International Foundation currently works in 7 countries and numerous cities within those countries, and has saved over 16,000 lives that would have otherwise been lost. With a solid foundation, dedicated volunteers, and generous donors, Heartbeat International Foundation can save a life with every $585 raised, making every donation count.

“Standard” operation in 2020 was anything but, and although much of the world seemed to go dark for a period of time due to Covid-19, the need for these critical interventions did not diminish. As an international organization, our leaders worked tirelessly to navigate new and changing policies, procedures, restrictions and care standards on the global level to ensure that our mission kept going. Although this was complex and tedious work, our dedication to our life-saving mission became even stronger!

As we celebrate Tampa Philanthropy week, we are proud of the perseverance, leadership, and resilience of both our non-profit organization and of our generous donors. This incredible work not only helps instill a great sense of humanity in these uncertain times, it provides a way for even one person to make a profound impact in the world.

To learn more about making a donation to Heartbeat International Foundation, visit our donations page today.

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