The Mended Hearts Inc. was founded in 1951 by four patients who had recently undergone heart surgery in a Boston hospital in 1950. The two men and two women related their experiences with each other, their new feelings of wellness, their expressed hopes for the future, and the "second chance" in life offered with their newly "mended hearts." They felt a need to "give back" . . . to share their experiences and to give supportive encouragement to other heart patients and their families.
They were assisted in this effort by noted cardiologist and pioneer heart surgeon Dr. Dwight E. Harken, considered by many to be the "Father of Mended Hearts."
As patient numbers grew and other cities organized similar groups, Mended Hearts incorporated in 1955. A constitution and bylaws were adopted.
After two decades of life-saving treatment progress and the formation of many new chapters, Mended Hearts Inc. relocated in 1979 from Boston to the American Heart Association (AHA) national office in Dallas, Texas. By the 1980's, the organization was firmly established and growing rapidly, with chapters throughout the nation. In 1993, Mended Hearts Inc. became officially affiliated with the AHA. In June, 2011 Mended Hearts Inc. announced a multi-year cooperative agreement with the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The ACC is a 39,000-member, non-profit medical society comprised of physicians, surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and practice managers. The organization bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who must meet stringent qualifications.
"Patient-centered care has long been a focus of the American College of Cardiology as we strive to deliver the best outcomes and quality of care, and we hope to make the most of the synergy between our two organizations," said David Holmes, M.D., F.A.C.C., President of the ACC.
After a half century of patient support, Mended Hearts, with more than 24,000 members, operates mainly through 300 community-based chapters across the United States, with two in Canada. Chapters partner with more than 460 hospitals and cardiac care facilities in providing patient-to-patient support services.
Slogan of Mended Hearts Inc.: "It's great to be alive — and to help others."
Annually, Mended Hearts' trained and accredited volunteers make about 227,000 hospital visits to patients and 30,000 visits to family members and caregivers, reaching 160,000 patients/households. About 8,300 people gained support last year by connecting with a Mended Hearts volunteer through its Internet Visiting Program and Toll-Free Helpline.
Recognizing that heart patients are of all ages, two new programs were launched in 2004. Mended Little Hearts provides support and encouragement to parents of children born with congenital heart defects or who have heart disease. Hopeful Young Hearts is targeted to heart patients ages 25-50.
To learn about your nearest Mended Hearts chapter, log on at mendedhearts.org. Additionally, Mended Hearts can be reached on weekdays at 1-888-HEART99.
Become a Member
Application for Membership in Mended Hearts, Inc. Although some chapters have local dues in addition to the national dues, Chapter 127 in Cookeville, Tennessee, does not have local dues. The total annual dues for both national and Chapter 127 membership as indicated on the attached form is $20 (individual) or $30 (family).