Heart defects are the number one killer among all birth defects worldwide. 

In 2011, Slava was one of fifteen children in Voronezh, Russia born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). The left side of his heart did not develop normally. RACF helped bring Slava to the U.S. for lifesaving open-heart surgery. Today, he is the only one of the fifteen children with HLHS from his hometown, who is still alive.

Ksenia needed a heart transplant, but in Russia, transplants for children are prohibited. She became the first Russian child to receive a heart transplant in the U.S.

Despite these successes, newborn babies with complex heart defects present the biggest challenge even in the U.S. It's critical that these little Russian babies get help within the first two weeks of life or it will be too late for them. There just isn't any way to bring them to the U.S. for lifesaving open-heart surgery in time. RACF has developed a dynamic new plan to provide groundbreaking American medical care to these babies right where they live.

Here's how it works: When a child is born in Russia with a complex heart defect, the Russian doctors will contact RACF. If the child can be supported in their Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for 7-14 days then an American trained surgical team available within that window of time will fly to Russia to provide or assist in open-heart surgery and in the immediate recovery period of 3-6 days. RACF's goal is to have a team available as many as 4-5 times per year for this lifesaving new program.

As a result many more children with life-threatening heart defects will receive complex open-heart surgery right where they live through the support of friends like you who have hearts of gold.