The Eric De La Cruz Hope for Hearts Foundation hosted a wine mixer and benefit to aid 24 year old Colby Salerno who is presently waiting for a heart transplant in a Connecticut hospital.
“Colby is an amazing young man whose strength, positivity, courage and overall approach to his illness is more than inspiring. I believe he has something to teach us all about life.” Veronica De La Cruz, Hope for Hearts Foundation
Veronica De La Cruz is an NBC/MSNBC anchor. She founded Hope for Hearts after the death of her younger brother, Eric, who suffered from severe dilated cardiomyopathy and was denied insurance coverage due to his pre-existing condition. Veronica worked feverishly through social media and was able to raise funds for her brother’s heart transplant, but Eric De La Cruz passed away on July 4, 2009 before the surgery could happen. She’s made it her mission ever since to help other heart transplant patients like Colby Salerno navigate the exhausting process.
Colby Salerno doesn’t feel his “story is more important than anyone else’s” he writes on his Tales from the 10th Floor blog. But he’s thrilled about his own role in increasing awareness about organ donations. He has spent the last 3 months in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant. Salerno has been living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy for half of his young life. The condition causes the heart muscle to thicken, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. A heart transplant is Salerno’s best chance at life, and 3 months of hospital living haven’t soured him on his dream to go to medical school and become a cardiologist.
The Hope for Hearts Foundation has pledged $5,000 in financial assistance to the Salerno family. Another young man on the Hope for Hearts’ radar is Sean Semon. He was given a glimmer of hope yesterday: