OUR FOUNDER

founder-sanjeev

Dr Sanjiv Nichani

Founder, Healing Little Hearts
Senior Consultant in the Care of critically ill children
University Hospitals of Leicester, UK

A nightmare that became a dream

A personal tragedy that I suffered as a young child helped shape me and my approach to life. Simultaneously it gave me a heightened sense of awareness of the poverty, inequity and deprivation that surrounded me in India. Having attended medical college in India and then moving to the USA followed by the UK, I wanted to give something back to society by using my skills and knowledge as a Paediatric Intensivist. I was brought up to understand the importance of helping people and giving back to those that need it the most. My mission was clear – to create a Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) revolution that gives every child with CHD the opportunity to live. It is with these fundamental beliefs in mind that Healing Little Hearts was founded.

Their Hearts

Numerous demographic studies have demonstrated that there are 1.4 miliion born with CHD in the world every year, and over 1 million of these children are born in the poorest countries and by a tragic twist of fate into the poorest families in the world. That effectively means that 90% of children born in the developing world with CHD will never receive the life saving treatment required to live a normal and healthy life. These studies have also shown that in the developing world there is gross under provision of health care facilities comprised of trained doctors and nurses with the ability to treat babies and children born with CHD.

“Our aim is to help CHD children and their families lead full and fulfilled lives”

Your Support

Your support and donations literally help save lives by allowing HLH to send teams of doctors and nurses to perform life saving operations that these desperately ill and poor children deserve. Many businesses, community leaders and individuals are on board. You too can be part of our journey to give life and hope where there is none. HLH pays no salaries and all volunteers take annual leave so virtually all the money donated is used to perform life saving heart operations

Our Action

Our motto is to operate in countries where the need is greatest with Africa being a very big focus. Our recent visit to Palestine demonstrates our resolve to help those most in need. Crucially during our camps to the hospitals we train, empower and equip the local doctors and nurses with the knowledge and skills to treat children with heart disease in their own countries. 3 Hospitals that we have worked with are now able to perform heart surgery on babies and children independently

In my opinion:

“Life is not measured by the moments that take your breath away but by the number of breaths that you help others take”

Please join us in our journey to give life and hope where it is most needed.

OUR TEAM

PARESH

Paresh Sewpaul

Chair

I currently work as a physician in the pharmaceutical industry focussed on the development of innovative new medicines for patients with cancer. I did my undergraduate medical training in South Africa where I had exposure to a mix of both first world and third world diseases. Working in medicine has always been a life-long ambition and to improve the quality of life of patients we serve.

In my work with HLH as Chairman, I am responsible for advocacy and governance as well as ensuring that we as a charity fulfil our ambitions. In my role, it still allows me to fulfil my ambitions as a doctor- reaching out to as many sick children who have congenital heart disease as possible to ensure that we as an organisation can impact their lives so that they reach their full potential.

rajee-patni

Rajee Pattni

Committee Member - Marketing

I currently work as a physician in the pharmaceutical industry focussed on the development of innovative new medicines for patients with cancer. I did my undergraduate medical training in South Africa where I had exposure to a mix of both first world and third world diseases. Working in medicine has always been a life-long ambition and to improve the quality of life of patients we serve.

In my work with HLH as Chairman, I am responsible for advocacy and governance as well as ensuring that we as a charity fulfil our ambitions. In my role, it still allows me to fulfil my ambitions as a doctor- reaching out to as many sick children who have congenital heart disease as possible to ensure that we as an organisation can impact their lives so that they reach their full potential.

kam-ubhi

Kam Ubhi

Committee Member - Legal

I joined the Healing Little Hearts Committee in 2013 having attended Healing Little Hearts fund raising events since its formation in 2007. I saw first-hand how its mission to save lives of children galvanised the passion and generosity of the people in Leicester and the trajectory in the number of lives it was able to save, year after year. I wanted to contribute to this.

My role is to raise funds to enable highly dedicated and immensely skilled medical teams to go to camps around the world to perform the life saving surgery. The generosity of Doctors and Nurses who are willing to give up their free time (often their annual leave) means that the opportunity to save children is limited to a large extent by the amount of funds that can be raised. As a Committee Member I am involved in fund-raising events such as Balls; submitting funding applications to Trusts and Foundations, profiling the charity and assisting with its strategy and governance.

Whilst Healing Little Hearts has saved over 1000 lives and is expanding into further under-developed countries, it’s ambition (to save the lives of as many children as possible) can only be achieved if substantial funds are continually being raised.

I am solicitor practising in Leicester, married to a Doctor and we have two daughters.

Shilpa-Vaitha

Shilpa Vaitha

Committee Member

Healing Little Hearts is a charity very close to my heart and I am very proud and honoured to be an active committee member for over 5 years.

As a parent I feel we as are enormously fortunate to have a medical system in the form of the NHS where we are all provided with free medical care whatever our status. Sadly others around the world are not so fortunate. I feel it our humanitarian duty to give back to those children from the poorest counties/families in the world who without our support will loose their lives. Healing Little Hearts has given me the platform to for fill a role in supporting those less fortunate.

There are many great causes and charities that need support, but one where we can save a child’s life I feel is the biggest service to mankind. “Hearts that beat to the tune of kindness and generosity can change the rythem of the world”

Alpa-Tanna

Alpa Tanna

Committee Member - Treasurer

Being a parent, you become aware and are sensitive of medical problems which may affect your child from the day you conceive him or her. Luckily, we have a fantastic NHS system which does an amazing job in times of need. They are their holding our hands whenever we need them. However, my heart bleeds when I think of those children around the world who do not have a great service like the NHS or a helping hand. Their fate is determined more or less from the time they are conceived; they are not given a chance in life perhaps because of environmental, economic or even political factors affecting them. I strongly feel that it is our duty to give back some of the privileges we possibly take for granted and to give to those who need our services the most.

There are many wonderful charities around the world who do support children. I however feel that a charity which is there to land a helping hand from the start of a child’s life can change that child’s world. Healing Little hearts, I feel gives this opportunity to a child who with their help can survive, grow and mature even in very harsh conditions.This charity has given me a sense of fulfilment and a sense of joy where I am able to see happy little faces once they have had the treatment they drastically need, knowing that somewhere along the lines whatever little I have done has helped to put a smile on a little child’s face.

Claire-Cathcart

Claire Cathcart

Committee Member / Founder Team 1c

My son, Jake was born 2015 with a very rare, unexpected and so far undiagnosed heart condition. Since birth he has been under the care of Alder Hey. In 2016 he became so poorly he was helicopter transferred to great ormond street in London for a second opinion and a heart transplant assessment . Jake had 2 heart surgeries in London & is now relatively stable on a combination of cardiac medicines & has a biventricular pacemaker which helps keep his heart beating in a normal rhythm. Both hospitals saved Jake’s life, on more than one occasion.

During my time at Alder Hey I became aware of Healing Little Hearts via Ram, one of the surgeons at Alder Hey. Ram volunteers his own free time , along with a team of surgical and nursing staff & cardiologists to perform paediatric cardiac surgery on babies and children at special “camps ” totally free of charge . these children are born with congenital heart defects & would not be covered by any medical insurance as their conditions are pre existing . Without Ram and Healing Little Hearts ,these children would not survive.

As a parent I’ve have watched my child suffer and survive 2 cardiac arrests. I have placed my child in the hands of the surgical team twice so far and we have more surgery to come.

I know how stressful it is to have a critically ill child , but I’ve never once had to worry about paying for it because we are so lucky to have Alder Hey on our doorstep. I can’t imagine how it must feel to not be able to afford to get your child the help they need , i believe everyone should have access to healthcare regardless of where they are born and that’s why I fundraise for Healing Little Hearts.

Steve-Gibbs

Steve Gibbs

Committee Member

Steve Gibbs, at 78 years old, but going on 45, has a history of successful fund raising for, amongst others, Save The Children Fund, BBC Children in Need, The British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK.

Steve was persuaded to join the team in 2017 by his daughter who is one of our volunteer nurses, after having completed a 3000 mile plus solo Tuk Tuk drive all around the twelve cardinal points of mainland UK, raising around £6000 for HLH.

Although well retired as well as being pacemaker powered, suffering from COPD and Sleep disorders, Steve hopes to bring a some new thoughts to progressing our fund raising which includes managing the collecting box scheme, organising local dining events and concerts, working with local organisations and continuing with the mad travelling schemes. “My target is to get to £10,000 a year minimum” says Steve. “My motto is that inside every heart lies the ability to make a difference.” I will do that!

Salim-Jivanji

Salim Jivanji

Committee Member - Doctor

I joined Healing Little Hearts in 2016 and have been involved in expanding the charities reach in East Africa and help set up a Paediatric Cardiology Centre in Kenya. Being Kenyan this area holds a special place in my heart and as such I have a great passion in developing a congenital centre in Kenya.

Through the charities great medical teams that head down each time, we have developed a significant interest from locals and now have industry support. In the last 4 camps we have seen more than 250 patients and carried out more than 50 operations. Our aim is to move our expertise to neighbouring countries.

I am a post CCT Interventional Fellow at Evelina Children’s Hospital. My training in Congenital Cardiology has been across the three London centres including Great Ormond Street and The Royal Brompton Hospital.

I am part of the of the medical board which discusses cases from missions by HLH and other charities which need retrieval for complex surgery overseas – and away from their local centres.

Dr-Ramana-Dhannapuneni

Dr Ramana Dhannapuneni

Lead Surgeon

I am a Consultant Congenital Cardiac Surgeon at Alder Hey Childrens Hospital and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Liverpool, UK. I have over 10 years of experience in Congenital Cardiac Surgery and 20 years of experience in Cardiothoracic surgery. My interests include paediatric cardiac surgery and especially neonatal; complex intra cardiac and bi-ventricular repairs; pectus & chest wall reconstructive surgery and humanitarian surgery. I am the lead cardiac surgeon and an ambasseder for the charity.

I have been associated with Healing Little Hearts Charity for nearly a decade now; participated in 19 camps and performed over 190 operations. I enjoy every camp and like going to new places. Healing Little Hearts provides a sense of fulfilment in life by being able to use my skills to save the lives of poor children across the globe. I also immensely benefit from the camps by learning new things, innovating, networking and making friends. I enjoy the teaching and training elements of the camps and very much interested in developing sustainable local care delivered by the local teams.

Nidhi-Joshi

Nidhi Joshi

Committee Member, Media

With over 25 years of PR, Marketing and Sales Management experience across a number of industries including TV, Film, Radio and in more recent years the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries, I have always felt compelled to share my corporate skills in a more philanthropic way, supporting causes that help increase the well-being of those in need. I have spent much of my spare time volunteering with a number of animal welfare charities in Asia and lived in Thailand for six months rescuing elephants and other wildlife from the tourist trade.

Closer to home Healing Little Hearts is an organisation that I have been drawn to for many years and am honoured to join the committee and to be a part of a group of individuals whose common goal is to help the most vulnerable of babies and children in the developing world and to bring some hope to their parents and families.

OUR PATRONS

Baroness Sandip Verma

Baroness Sandip Verma

Patron

Baroness Verma is committed to helping children and young people and has been a Patron for Healing Little Hearts for over 5 years. Her work and contributions to the charity sector have a long history – supporting a range of organisations that raise awareness and vital funds to make a huge difference to the lives of others.

“I am so proud that this is a Leicester based charity with a global outlook, it reflects so well the strength and generosity of so many people.”

“ We are incredibly lucky to have an healthcare system in the UK – the National Health Service (NHS). Sadly, this is not the case in many of the poorest countries in the world. Hundreds and thousands of babies and children suffer and die due the lack of access to the right treatment. All of these parents hold their child in their arms and cling onto hope that a special surgeon and medical team will make their child better. Healing Little Hearts addresses this global problem and have helped save the lives of over 1500 children. So as Patron for this remarkable charity I urge you to offer your support so they can continue to change the lives of even more babies and children.”

Baroness Sandip Verma, a senior politician with over 25 years of political experience, has been a member of the House of Lords since 2006. She has served as an Opposition Minister for 6 years and as Government Minister for 8 years, in the departments for Women and Equalities, Energy and Climate Change and International Development. Baroness Verma is currently the Chair of the European External Affairs Committee, a member of the Lords EU Select Committee and recently been appointed Chairman of UN Women UK.

Born in Amritsar, she moved to Leicester at the age of 10 and currently resides in London. She has been married for 40 years to Ashok Verma and both have a son and daughter.

nilesh-samani

Sir Nilesh Samani

Professor, FRCP FMedSci DL

Sir Professor Nilesh Samani is Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University, Director of the National Institute Of Health Research Biomedical Research Unit and a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

In 2015 Professor Samani was knighted for his services to medicine and medical research. In October 2016 he became Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF)and is helping shape the direction of research in the UK and beyond.

“By working with the research community in the UK and overseas, the NHS and other funders, including the Government, and patients and the public, we will continue to make important breakthroughs that save and benefit the lives of people with heart and circulatory disease.”

In October 2017, Professor Samani pledged a long term relationship as Patron for Healing Little Hearts charity.

“I would like to offer my help in anyway I can to help save the lives and benefit families in the developing world”

“We are incredibly lucky to have an healthcare system in the UK – the National Health Service (NHS). Sadly, this is not the case in many of the poorest countries in the world. Hundreds and thousands of babies and children suffer and die due the lack of access to the right treatment. All of these parents hold their child in their arms and cling onto hope that a special surgeon and medical team will make their child better. Healing Little Hearts addresses this global problem and have helped save the lives of over 1500 children. So as Patron for this remarkable charity I urge you to offer your support so they can continue to change the lives of even more babies and children.”

Married to Varsha and with two sons – one studying medicine and the other Economics – Professor Samani, lives and is closely connected to the communities in Leicester. He has secured multi-million pound investments and established Leicester as a world-leading centre for heart research.

mehmooda-duke

Mehmooda Duke

CEO of Moosa – Duke

Mehmooda Duke is the CEO of Moosa – Duke Solicitors which she set up in 2003. Mehmooda has over 25 years’ experience in dealing with medical negligence claims; the first 10 years were spent defending health professionals and for the last 16 years she has acted for victims of the NHS and GPs.

Mehmooda graduated from Cambridge and began her career as a school teacher. However, after just a year she retrained as a lawyer and started her legal career in London in 1992.

Mehmooda was appointed President of Leicestershire Law Society in May 2015, the first Asian female in the Society’s 155 year history to hold this position. She became the public face of the organisation and steered the strategic direction of the Society. Since May 2017, she has been the Executive Board Chair and still holds this position.

Mehmooda was one of the founder Executive Board members of national organisation, SCIL – The Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers. She served for 5 years and is now on its Public Affairs Group representing Clinical Injury Lawyers at national level.

She is the first female in the Clubs history to sit on the Board of Leicestershire County Cricket Club. Mehmooda sits on the Governing Council of the University of Leicester.

Mehmooda is the second Asian female to be appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Leicestershire and Rutland in the County’s history.

In September 2017 Mehmooda won Leicester Mercury Business Woman of the Year and in April 2018 she won Leicestershire Law Society Solicitor of the Year. Mehmooda was shortlisted as a finalist for the Leicester Mercury Executive Awards in January 2019.

Mehmooda was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List 2019 for services to the Legal Profession and female entrepreneurship.

Mehmooda is passionate about a number of charities, one being Healing Little Hearts for which she is an ambassador. She went to India in March to see the work that the charity does and her 2018 challenge – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for ‘Healing Little Hearts’ was completed on 21 October raising over £30,000 and continuing.

Mehmooda enjoys walking in the Peak District and taking people with her! She has organised five 10 mile charity walks for local lawyers and business people and done two 10K runs. Over the last few years, Mehmooda, with the support of her business colleagues and friends has raised over £100,000 for charities including Cancer Research, The Rik Basra Leukaemia Foundation, and the Cauda Equina Syndrome UK. Reading, cooking, going to the Gym and the theatre are her favourite pastimes.

sunil-gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar

Former Captain of Indian Cricket Team

Sir Professor Nilesh Samani is Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University, Director of the National Institute Of Health Research Biomedical Research Unit and a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

In 2015 Professor Samani was knighted for his services to medicine and medical research. In October 2016 he became Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF)and is helping shape the direction of research in the UK and beyond.

“By working with the research community in the UK and overseas, the NHS and other funders, including the Government, and patients and the public, we will continue to make important breakthroughs that save and benefit the lives of people with heart and circulatory disease.”

In October 2017, Professor Samani pledged a long term relationship as Patron for Healing Little Hearts charity.

“I would like to offer my help in anyway I can to help save the lives and benefit families in the developing world”

“We are incredibly lucky to have an healthcare system in the UK – the National Health Service (NHS). Sadly, this is not the case in many of the poorest countries in the world. Hundreds and thousands of babies and children suffer and die due the lack of access to the right treatment. All of these parents hold their child in their arms and cling onto hope that a special surgeon and medical team will make their child better. Healing Little Hearts addresses this global problem and have helped save the lives of over 1500 children. So as Patron for this remarkable charity I urge you to offer your support so they can continue to change the lives of even more babies and children.”

Married to Varsha and with two sons – one studying medicine and the other Economics – Professor Samani, lives and is closely connected to the communities in Leicester. He has secured multi-million pound investments and established Leicester as a world-leading centre for heart research.