A Heart for Change
To understand the heart of Heartbeat International, we have to go back to our roots – over 30 years ago. Dr. Federico Alfaro, a Guatemalan physician, was treating a 17-year-old boy suffering from a heart block – a condition where the heartbeat slows down until it eventually stops beating. It was curable. But he had one major problem – he was poor. Despite Dr. Alfaro’s efforts, he couldn’t find the financial assistance to get the boy a pacemaker. He had to helplessly watch him die.
From that moment, Heartbeat International was born. Its mission: to save lives globally by providing cardiovascular implantable devices to the needy people of the world. Today, HBI is the world’s largest charity providing cardiac devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators and other cardiac devices. We have saved more than 16,000 children, parents, siblings and friends, in more than 20 countries. We have given them the ability to live, with a second chance at living their fullest and best lives.
“About 1 million people a year are dying, and it may be as large as 3 million people, because they cannot get a pacemaker,” says Dr. Benedict Maniscalco, President of HBI and a renowned cardiologist. “If it were my grandchild, I would turn over heaven and earth to take care of them. But then, I have resources, and the people we serve with Heartbeat International do not.”
Every aspect, from the implantation to lifelong follow-up care, is provided to patients free of charge. An average heart procedure? Upwards of $50,000. With Heartbeat International, just $585 is enough to save a life, for life.
How is this possible?
Around the world, we have heart centers staffed by 100% volunteer cardiologists and doctors, living in the countries they serve. These boots-on-the-ground care providers allow us to use funding efficiently rather than flying doctors at the cost of our donors.
While other non-profits use secondhand pacemakers, all Heartbeat International patients receive brand-new devices, donated by corporate partners like BIOTRONIK. Without the generosity of these companies, our mission wouldn’t be possible.
Donations are the lifeblood of Heartbeat International. We cannot thank enough the everyday people who keep our mission alive through their funding. Any person can become a heart hero and give someone around the world the gift of life.
A Vision for A Better World
With so many in need, we still have a lot of work to do. We won’t stop until nobody dies simply because they cannot afford a cardiac device.
“With the proper funding, we can become the strongest force for cardiovascular disease in third world countries the world has ever seen.”