Our Stories

Ava's story

For most of her life, Ava Kaufman was a successful businesswoman, mother, professional dancer, and a black belt in Taekwondo.

She was strong, fit, and thriving—until a rare autoimmune disease caused a health crisis that led to her heart transplant.

Ava made a promise to God: if she survived and could continue being a mother to her daughter, she would spend the rest of her life giving back.

Every day, Ava fulfills that promise. Without any prior experience, she started a nonprofit called Ava’s Heart. The organization provides no-cost pre- and post-transplant housing for transplant patients and caregivers.

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"Without really knowing anything about how to start a non-profit, I started Ava's Heart. And what we do is provide the no-cost doctor-mandated pre- and post-op transplant housing for transplant patients and a caregiver."

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

“Did you know that if you can’t prove that you have the doctor-mandated pre- and post-op transplant housing within 30 minutes of your transplant center, you can’t get listed?” Ava says. “What good is a surgery if access is so exclusive?”


Not only has Ava’s Heart provided over 60 families with housing before and after surgery, Ava and her team also honor deceased donors who give the gift of life.


“Donors are our heroes, and they deserve to be put to rest with dignity. We started a program to assist donor families with small grants,” Ava says.


These grants support cremation and burial costs. In 2021, Ava’s Heart was able to provide 54 donor families with grants.

Ava has no intention of stopping.


“Because someone said yes to donation, I’m here today,” she says. “And I truly believe that God saved my life to do this … so, I’m just going keep on doing it until, you know, we can help every transplant patient that needs assistance.”

Say "YES" to donation!


You can give the gift of life to help someone like Ava. Learn more about organ donation or visit the National Donate Life Registry.