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HEarts of Promise

Brighter Futures for Baby Hearts

Welcome to Hearts of Promise

Hearts of Promise is a non-profit organization established on April 16, 2003 by Tracy and Candace Turner and Candace's parents, Wayne and Carolyn Saunders. Upon returning home following their daughter Holly's second open-heart surgery at Children's Hospital Boston (see Holly's story), they felt the urgent need to raise money for research currently being conducted at Children's Hospital Boston. This research, known as cardiac tissue engineering, could eliminate the need for thousands of children born with congenital heart defects from having to undergo valve replacement surgeries throughout their lifetimes. Children, like Holly, who have undergone valve replacement surgery will require multiple heart surgeries since their donor valves or mechanical valves will deteriorate over time or will be outgrown.

Researchers are hoping to one day grow arteries and valves from a child’s own tissue. This research holds great promise, and many advances have been made. Since the tissue would come from the child’s own body there would no longer be the need for multiple valve replacements, as the valve would grow with the child and would not be rejected by the body. All donations received by Hearts of Promise and all funds raised through our events go to this research being conducted at Children’s Hospital Boston by Dr. John Mayer and his research team. Dr. Mayer and others from Children’s Hospital Boston have devoted their lives to this research. Dr. Mayer is very encouraged by the advances they have made.

Not only is it the mission of Hearts of Promise to raise funds for this important research, but we also provide support to families who have been affected by congenital heart defects. It is important for families to know that they are not alone and that there is hope.

Hearts of Promise

P.O. Box 681070

Prattville, AL 36068


Phone: 334-361-0071

E-mail: promise@heartsofpromise.org




Hearts of Promise

847 Candy Lane

Chipley, FL 32428


Phone: 850-638-4640

E-mail: wcsaunders@bellsouth.net

To contact us:

Hearts of Promise © Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Hearts of Promise is classified as a tax exempt organization under IRS code 501(c) 3.

All donations are tax deductible


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Dr. John Mayer, world renowned cardiovascular surgeon at Children's Hospital Boston and Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, spoke to students, faculty, and members of the community at Chipola College in Marianna, FL on November 14th. He presented to medical personnel later that evening. Dr. Mayer’s lecture on the advances in cardiac tissue engineering research was very informative and enlightening. Dr. Mayer’s visit was a culmination of an awareness and fundraising campaign for Hearts of Promise organized by Chipola student, Hillary Saunders, as her Phi Theta Kappa service project. Following Dr. Mayer’s morning lecture, Hillary presented Dr. Mayer with a $20,000 check for his cardiac tissue engineering research. Hillary raised the funds by organizing a heart walk and pancake breakfast on November 5th, through presentations to church groups and civic groups, attendance at festivals throughout the summer, and Beanie Baby and cookbook sales.


Dr. Mayer expressed his appreciation for Hillary and for Hearts of Promise. He also stressed the immense need for funds for his cardiac tissue engineering research. The goal of his research is to grow arteries and valves from a child’s own tissue, thus eliminating the need for multiple open-heart surgeries for thousands of children with congenital heart defects. Dr. Mayer stated that the donation that Hillary presented would be very helpful, since the cost of his research is $200,000 a year.


Hearts of Promise would like to thank Hillary for her tremendous efforts on behalf of Hearts of Promise! We would also like to thank Frank and Carol Kreis (walk co-chairmen, along with Hillary Saunders and Wayne and Carolyn Saunders), Jerry Odom (breakfast chairman), the breakfast team, all breakfast attendees, walk participants, corporate sponsors, and personal donors who donated time and money to make this event a success. We also appreciate Pam Rentz, PTK sponsor, for her support for this service project. Thanks, also, to everyone who attended Dr. Mayer’s presentations and to Dr. James Clemmons and Cindy Burns for their help in informing medical personnel of Dr. Mayer’s presentation. Thank you, especially, to Dr. Mayer for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak at Chipola. We truly appreciate all he has done for thousands of children with congenital heart defects and for all he continues to do for them through his cardiac tissue engineering!

Hearts of Promise Sponsors Dr. Mayer’s Visit to Chipola College

Pictured (L to R):  Wayne Saunders, Carolyn Saunders, Hillary Saunders, Dr. Mayer, Candace Saunders-Turner, Carol Saunders

Washington-Holmes Technical Center (WHTC) Nursing Instructors and Students pictured with Dr. Mayer