Our Stories

Amelia's story

When the Garcias found out they were pregnant, they were overjoyed. The first grandbaby on both sides of the family, Amelia’s arrival was highly anticipated.

But, unfortunately, near the day of Amelia’s arrival, the Garcias were told she had a heart defect.

Amelia underwent catheterization surgery at the tender age of four days to obtain images of her heart.

One week later, the results revealed that a heart transplant was imperative since surgery was not viable and the transplant center was out of the family’s state.

The family was at a loss on what to do, but they resolved to relocate near the transplant center to increase Amelia’s chances of survival.

Quotation marks
"Amelia could become a doctor and cure cancer, she could be President of the United States. I mean, it's endless. She could be a superstar, she could be a Broadway star, she could find a cure for heart disease. She could become an astronaut. Or, you know, maybe she'll just live a full happy, wonderful, incredible life. And I think that's what we all want for our children, for them to be happy and thrive."

Ava Kaufman
Heart and transplant recipient, and founder of Ava's Heart

Their daunting task was eased by Ava's Heart, a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that offers free pre- and post-operative housing for transplant patients and their caregivers, highlighting the potency of community support.


After a brief stint on the transplant list, Amelia received a new heart. Presently, she has mastered oral medication administration, bottle feeding, and solid foods, marking five milestones since her transplant.


The Garcias are hopeful of achieving more milestones, all thanks to the selflessness of the donor family.

Say "YES" to donation!
You can give the gift of life to help someone like Amelia. Learn more about organ donation or visit the National Donate Life Registry.