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.
Committee Member - Marketing
I follow a simple philosophy “Wherever you go, leave a heart print”
With a strong passion for helping others, when the opportunity came to work with a childrens charity I was honoured to assist in the growth and development.
Five years ago I joined the charity as a committee member having come from a background in marketing, design, and print. I currently work in the creative sector and am part of a family run design and print business.
My objective is to find innovative ways to raise the charity’s profile and funds. This includes working on various marketing campaigns through both print and digital media. I am currently project managing the charity’s new website and social media. It gives me great satisfaction to know that many more children in the developing parts of the world and families here in the UK will benefit from the enormous outreach provided by our marketing initiatives.
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.
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”
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.
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, 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!
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
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.
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.