Celebrating six: Stories of inspiring hearts

Sonia, who was born with congenital heart disease, dances onstage.

February is American Heart Month. Join us in celebrating our team members whose personal experiences led them to Boston Children’s Hospital Heart Center and honoring our patients whose care led them to pay it forward. From our hearts, to yours.


Sonia, who was born with congenital heart disease, poses with her mom.

Romanian mother’s mission to improve public health

Sonia came to Boston as a baby for heart surgery after being given a 10 percent chance of survival in her native Romania. The experience was life-changing, not only for Sonia, but also for her mother, who was moved to bring a higher level of care back to the people of Romania. Read about their journey.


Emma, whose brother was born with congenital heart disease, poses at work in the CICU.

Carrying on a hero’s legacy in the CICU

Emma Mercier decided she wanted to be a nurse at the age of 12. That was the year her older brother, Justin, passed away from congestive heart failure. Learn how she finds comfort in helping other heart patients in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU).


Sara, who was born with HLHS, poses with penguins in Antarctica.

Antarctic adventure for an HLHS survivor

Sarah was born with a life-threatening diagnosis of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), but a second opinion at Boston Children’s offered her a second chance. Now the 27-year-old teacher, who just returned from an Antarctic expedition, is enjoying a life full of adventure. Learn how she hasn’t let her congenital heart defect hold her back.


Dr. David Hoganson, who was born with congenital heart disease, poses in his surgical scrubs

From heart patient to heart surgeon

Dr. David Hoganson has a lot more in common with his patients than many of them realize. Born with a complex congenital heart defect, Hoganson had open-heart surgery when he was 16 months old. Learn how his early experiences shaped his career as a cardiac surgeon.


Divya, who was born with congenital heart disease, on a swing as a toddler.

Around the world for complex care

When Divya was diagnosed with complex heart problems shortly after her 1985 birth in Mumbai, her father cast a wide net looking for care. His search brought them to the Heart Center at Boston Children’s — and Divya and her family have been coming back for 30 years. Now a dental surgeon in Mumbai, Divya cares for her own patients. Read her story.


Dr. Catherine Allan, who was born with a congenital heart defect, poses in her office.

Overcoming CHD, first as a child and now as a cardiologist

Dr. Catherine Allan is a cardiologist, wife, mother and triathlete. She’s also a former congenital heart defect patient. “Having lived through the experience of heart surgery and really thrived, it’s an incredible privilege to help kids and have an impact on their lives.” Read her story.

Read and share all of our Heart Month Stories.