ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Enduring Hearts, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, handed out huggable heart pillows to patients after heart surgery.
The nonprofit gave pillows to patients at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. The hospital was one of the very first places to receive gifts. Parents also received gift cards for gasoline.
"When they get a heart transplant or when they have had an incision, it's performed in their chest, so it actually works as a cough pillow so it provides physical and emotional comfort," said Carolyn Salvador, the Chief Executive Officer for Enduring Hearts.
Carolyn Salvador, the CEO for Enduring Hearts, said they started the Huggable Heart Pillow Program in February. The nonprofit continues to hand out pillows at transplant centers across the United States.
The nonprofit's main goal is to raise money for research. The average heart transplant only lasts 17 years, according to Enduring Hearts.
"A heart transplant still is not a lasting cure so our goal is to make it so one child can have a heart transplant that lasts them a full life. Less than 5% of children get the chance to get a second transplant which is why the research is so important," said Salvador.
Paragonix Technologies, a leader in organ transplant technology, is a sponsor for the Huggable Heart Pillow Program.
"They're of course an item that represents love, courage, and calmness to our patients," said Lisa Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Paragonix Technologies.