A chance meeting grows into meaningful family impact:
Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Family Assistance Fund at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT

When Louise and Jeff founded the Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Fund, they knew it would take connections and partnerships to build this community. They would have to seek out new opportunities to support more families. They knew that by asking how they could help, would find new ways to bring important resources to these children and parents – and that one family at a time, one hospital at a time, they could make a real difference.

In the summer of 2014, Louise was determined to make a very special connection. That August, the Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Fund sponsored the Little Heart Hero Day in Louise’s home state, Connecticut. In addition to meeting families, Louise sought out one person in particular: Adria Giordano. Louise wanted to learn more about Adria’s work at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation and how the Gabrielle’s Fund could help. The two immediately bonded, through the shared experiences as heart moms and also philanthropists. “I was amazed to learn of the impact Gabrielle’s Fund was having on families throughout the region,” said Adria, “It is inspiring that they have chosen to remember their daughter by providing meaningful support to other parents and children.”

When Adria explained that the hospital had envisioned a groundbreaking type of care for its cardiac patients, through its new Cardiovascular Care Center, Louise knew that the Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Fund had to be part of the greatly enhanced care and support these families would receive.

Scheduled to open fall 2015, Connecticut Children’s new Cardiovascular Care Center will create a unified approach to medical and surgical care, provide access to the most advanced diagnostic technologies, and enhance the patient care experience. The Center’s space will feature an expanded patient and family waiting room, additional exam rooms, surgical suites, and echocardiogram labs. It has also expanded its cardiac team, recruiting two of the nation’s top cardiac surgeons to work alongside the full cardiac teams, nurses, and social workers.

Reflecting on her experience, Louise thought about the day-to-day impact treatment and care has on heart families – especially financially. “You are so focused on your child that you never think about the cost of daily visits to the hospital until the bills for parking, coffee, food, and co-payments, and days taken out of work, start to add up.” Heart families often don’t know who to ask for help with these expenses.

Seeing an opportunity to provide real support to families, in January 2015, the Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Family Assistance Fund was established at Connecticut Children’s with a $25,000 commitment. “Not a day goes by that we don’t wish we had a resource for our families to cover these expenses. Expenses that create even more stress for our heart parents. The Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Family Assistance Fund has provided us with that resource.” Gabrielle’s Fund at Connecticut Children’s will allow parents to focus on their child’s care by helping to reduce or eliminate some of the financial stresses, before they become a crisis.

Adria further noted that the Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Family Assistance Fund will be even more meaningful to parents when they learn that this support comes from another heart family, one that truly understands everything they are going through. Connecticut Children’s looks forward to building a lifelong relationship between its families and the Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Fund. “Simply knowing that there are other families out there, a community of support and connections, even to someday attending Gabrielle’s Heart Camp, means a great deal to our families. We and they are grateful to Gabrielle’s Fund for this wonderful investment.”