Saturday, November 16, 2013

Does God give us more than we can handle? Read this and you decide.

This week has been a very hard week for several of our heart families, for my colleagues at work, for some local families in Tallahassee I've never met but have been praying for, for fellow heart moms I've never met in real life but love keeping up with through Facebook. 

Over the past several weeks, I've seen posts that say or allude to the saying that "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." And each time I see it, I think about this blog post by Jill Haskins, a fellow heart mom I've never met in real life, but love chatting and Facebooking with. 

Jill says that God does give us more than we can handle, and she explains why she believes that. Jill gave me the OK to share her blog post here ... thank you, Jill, for always sharing your heart, even when it's breaking. 

God DOES give us more than we can handle.

Monday, November 11, 2013

High Fives to Our Heart Heroes!

 We Are ... Broken Hearts of Florida
Living with congenital heart defects or other pediatric heart disease (or any chronic or acute illness, really) creates a persistent, underlying stress in our daily lives, and it can be easy sometimes to fall into a habit of focusing on that stress and worry. 

So when I come across a feel-good song about celebrating victories, about living in the moment, about not wasting a single minute of the time we're given, I often feel compelled to let one of my favorite hobbies take over of my time. No, really. I get obsessed until the project is done! When I find just the right song and just the right images and put them together in just the right sequence to create a message that just makes you feel good ... well, I can't help myself.

My 9-year-old is a big fan of Big Time Rush, and when I heard the song, "We Are," on the TV  a few weeks ago, while William was watching the video, I listened closely to the lyrics, and I knew immediately it was one of those just-right songs to celebrate our heart kids and adults. 

I dare you to watch this and not, at some point, raise your hands in the air, or at least give these Heart Heroes thumbs up salute. 

We Are ... Broken Hearts of Florida. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Every Bit Helps

We are helping hands in a family's journey with pediatric heart disease. Every bit helps. To make a donation and help a family in crisis,
Broken Hearts of Florida awarded its first Home-Away-From-Home assistance to a family of five.

It felt good this weekend to hand over the card of encouragement and empathy, and the $600 worth of MasterCard gift credit/debit cards and gas card that were tucked inside it.

I told the new heart mom that I wished Broken Hearts of Florida could have covered all their expenses while their baby underwent open-heart surgery at UF Health Shands Children Hospital in Gainesville.

But the North Florida mom smiled; she was grateful. “Every bit helps,” she said. “This helps so much.”

Seven years ago, when Broken Hearts of Florida was founded, this kind of assistance would not have been possible. When families needed financial help, we did a shout-out – via email! – on a case-by-case basis to our other families, asking them to make a personal contribution. We were always thankful for every penny we could collect, as were the families who received maybe $50 of the $500 they needed to keep the lights on and the rent or mortgage paid.

We are humbled and thankful to provide these things to heart families who need us. We are grateful to all of the Broken Hearts contributors and sponsors, who make these gifts possible.
Please help us so that we may continue to support, educate and connect heart families in need. As that heart mom said, “Every bit helps.”
Our organization is completely volunteer-driven. All of our revenue goes straight back to helping our families get through life-changing surgeries, medical crises, and the joys and triumphs.

All of our donation information is available here. Let’s keep supporting, educating and connecting heart families.

We’ve come such a long way since then! Over the past year alone, Broken Hearts of Florida has joyfully provided:
  •         almost $2,000 in financial assistance to almost a dozen heart families
  •         on average, two to three dinners a month for families staying on the 10th and 4th floors of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital;
  •         more than $300 worth of toiletries for families who have found themselves at UF Health quite unexpectedly;
  •         snacks and light meals through its Food from the Heart Pantry for families staying on the 10th floor at UF Health Shands
  •         almost a dozen monthly Family & Friends Dinner Nights;
  •         a full-fledged, tons-of-fun May Day Picnic for families and medical caregivers; and
  •         given out nearly 150 care packages to families in the hospital.
Your donations make it possible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thank you to our Hearts in July sponsors and in-kind donors!

We're grateful for sponsors and in-kind donors who have helped make Hearts in July possible. Because of their generous support, Broken Hearts of Florida will be able to help families in need through its new Home-Away-From-Home Program, designed to help families stay together when they're children are hospitalized.

Broken Hearts of Florida’s Home-Away-From-Home Program is designed to help Big Bend-area families stay with their kids while they’re hospitalized in Gainesville for heart-related reasons. 

Home-Away-From-Home will provide lodging assistance to families in need, freeing them to focus on what is important -- helping their children get better. Free and low-cost housing and lodging options are available in Gainesville, and they work well for families who need to stay in Gainesville longer than 12 or 15 days. But for stays ranging from 2 to 10 days, these options often don’t work out, leaving families to find other, often more expensive accommodations. Many families simply cannot afford this expense, and find themselves sleeping in the hospital’s lobbies or in their cars. Parents of children in the hospital are under enough stress without the compounded strain of wondering where they will stay while away from home.

Money raised at our first, evening fundraiser -- Hearts in July -- will help us launch the program. Go here for more information about Hearts in July.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Join us for Hearts in July!

Watch our commercial.
Join Broken Hearts of Florida for Hearts in July -- a fun-filled fundraising event for the whole family! The evening includes dinner, a silent auction, supervised kids’ activities, and music and dancing. We’ll also have some special guests!

The public is welcome! Meet some amazing families and heart heroes, learn more about what Broken Hearts of Florida is doing in your community, and have a great time! 

Tickets are $12 per person. All proceeds go toward launching Broken Hearts of Florida’s new “Home-Away-From-Home Program,” helping families stay with their children while they’re hospitalized for heart-related reasons. 

The event will be held Friday, July 26, 2013, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Sittig Hall in Kleman Plaza at 301 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL.

We are also looking for event sponsors and items for our silent auction. 

About Us and Our Home-Away-From-Home Program

Over the past year, we’ve been providing financial assistance to Big Bend-area heart families in need when they’ve had to travel to Gainesville for routine appointments, open-heart surgeries, or other congenital-heart-related procedures at UF Health Shands Hospital for Children and the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, the only medical facility in our region that provides this highly specialized care. The families’ biggest needs have been with overnight and extended-stay accommodations.

Our new Home-Away-From-Home Program will provide lodging assistance to Big Bend-area families in need. While there are free or low-cost lodging options available in Gainesville, such as the Ronald McDonald House, they are often at capacity, leaving families to find other, often more expensive accommodations. 

For many families, this is an expense they simply can’t afford, and so they find themselves sleeping in the hospital’s lobbies or in their cars. These parents are under enough stress without the compounded strain of wondering where they will stay while they’re away from home.

Founded in 2006, BHF is a nonprofit, charitable organization that supports, educates and connects families affected by congenital heart defects and other pediatric heart diseases. We have chapters based in Tallahassee, Gainesville and Panama City that serve those cities and surrounding counties. 

We started as a small group of three families and today, we are 250 families strong. Our services have expanded with our growth and are designed to help families navigate the lifelong journey of living with congenital heart defects and pediatric heart disease. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meet & Greet Lunch with Nels Matson

Meet Nels Matson!

Join us for lunch with Nels Matson, who is running 1,200 miles in 35 days from Bradenton, FL, to the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Washington, D.C. 

Broken Hearts of Florida will host lunch for Nels and Diplo on Sunday, June 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Chili's at 3530 S.W. Archer Road, Gainesville. RSVP for lunch through our Facebook event page, or email us at and let us know you are attending the lunch and how many will be with you. 

If you or your child has a congenital heart defect, come out and sign Diplo, the Diplomatic Penguin, who is riding on Nels’ back. You’ll also have a chance to meet Nels’ Gainesville Heart Diplomat, Sage Pridemore, a local CHD survivor.
Nels, Denise and Diplo at Broken Hearts' May Day Picnic. 

There are about 100,000 children in Cambodia who have congenital heart disease; very few are treated. Nels is running to fund heart surgeries for these children through Hearts Without Boundaries. Nels was saved by an open-heart surgery when he was a toddler, and wants to give these children the same opportunity at life he was given!

Nels’ journey began June 15 in Bradenton. Diplo the penguin will be given as a gift and symbol of support to the children receiving the heart surgeries in Cambodia.

For more information about Tri4Number1 Run, visit

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oil Change Fundraiser for Broken Hearts of Florida

Join us Monday, May 27, at Super Lube at
6541 Thomasville Road (near Bradfordville Road)
between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. for our
Oil Change Fundraiser!

You get 50% off your oil change, plus free lunch! While Super Lube changes your oil, you can enjoy a hot dog or and hamburger, a bag of chips and ice cold drink! And, a portion of the proceeds go to Broken Hearts of Florida to help families affected by congenital heart disease and other pediatric heart diseases.

Listen to our radio ad.

Our programs and services include:
  • a Financial Assistance Program for heart families who need assistance during a planned or unexpected hospital stay;
  • PICU Family Dinners, a weekly event held in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital where families in the Unit enjoy a free meal and good company;
  • Food from the Heart Pantry, a source of free, quick, nutritious snacks and light meals for families in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital;
  • Care Packages for children and families who are in the hospital; and ouR
  • May Day Picnic, an annual daylong event in Gainesville for heart families and their health-care providers.
Come get your oil change for half-price, get a free lunch and support an organization that supports, educates and connects families affected by pediatric heart disease. 

We sincerely thank Super-Lube and Cumulus Radio
for their generous support of Broken Hearts of Florida! 

For more information, contact us at