Little hearts, big potential

At OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, where I’m a pediatric resident, inspiration is everywhere. I have the pleasure of working with talented, dedicated physicians and nurses every day. Yet, it is often patients and their families, their endless hope and caring, that make me want to be better and do more.

One afternoon not long ago, the mother of a patient in the OHSU Doernbecher cardiology clinic shared with me the story of her adorable son’s adoption from an orphanage in China. She said he was the fourth child from China that her family had adopted, and the third with congenital heart disease. (The Oregonian’s Katy Muldoon recently profiled this family.)

As she described their journey home from China, I was overwhelmed by her family’s capacity for love and generosity. In fact, they had extended their passion beyond their own family by starting Little Hearts Medical, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving care for children with congenital heart disease in Chinese orphanages.

We wrapped up the appointment and went our separate ways — I to my next patient and they to their lives in rural Washington — but throughout the following week I continued thinking about that mother’s story and I came to realize that I can do more. I have to do more.

Once I decided to get involved, the next question was how. How could I actually provide value to the organization and the children who need help?  I began emailing those involved at OHSU Doernbecher, trying to find out what I could do. I learned that Little Hearts Medical not only provides medical care to orphanages in China, but also medical supplies that are desperately needed in these orphanages. As a resident, I may not be able to travel to China myself, but I was sure I could find a way to help with funding for supplies and other expenses.

A few weekends later, while I was chatting to a colleague about my newfound love for running, it occurred to me that with the huge running community in Portland, a run could be a great way to raise money and awareness for Little Hearts Medical. I contacted Mike Lee, father and co-founder of the organization, and he was excited about the idea. In fact, he didn’t hesitate. It was a “let’s get started yesterday” type of response.

Over the next few weeks we scouted and identified a great location, signed up leagues of volunteers, procured sponsors and prize donations and designed a T-shirt for the runners. We’ve made great progress planning the event and with your help — sign up and spread the word! — we expect a wonderful turnout for the inaugural 5k for Little Hearts Medical.

Please join Little Hearts Medical for our 5K fundraiser at Marine Park in Vancouver, Wash., at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 13! To learn more, click here.

Whitnee Stuban, M.D.
Second-Year Resident in Pediatrics
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital



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