Holly Morrell is the founder of Heartfelt Cardiac Projects, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives from this nation’s number one killer, sudden cardiac arrest. Heartfelt Cardiac Projects provides cardiac screening in order to save lives from preventable tragedies due to Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). Echocardiograms (ECHO) and Electrocardiograms (ECG/EKG) are offered for a nominal donation, per screening.
While she pioneered the grassroots cardiac screening effort/industry beginning in 1999 and has over 17 years experience in screening student athletes throughout the country, her work is very personal and stems from tragedy, loss, and heartbreak.
Nine Morrell family members, out of 11, had heart disease; 6 died and 2 live with devices implanted in their chests to protect them from sudden death. In 2010, another family member became the second Morrell Family member to receive a heart transplant to save her life. Holly herself was diagnosed with the condition in 2002, after running a cardiac screening program for 3 years.
And in 2012, Holly survived emergency open heart surgery by only 90 seconds.
Holly established Heartfelt Cardiac Projects (HCP) in order to better serve the general public and preserve the integrity of her mission, to save more lives through early detection, education, and increased public awareness.
She admits that not all families have found themselves as susceptible to such devastating loss.
“Not all families are affected quite as dramatically as mine but it is not that uncommon for a family to have multiple members adversely affected by the disease,” she explains. “Obviously – especially the genetic version of the heart disease.”
She says her work with HCP has not only helped her survive, but thrive.
“Personally, I view my work as both a blessing and a privilege,” she says. “I feel as though my life has been spared to save others. Additionally, it is the healing Heartfelt provides to so many parents, who have lost a child to sudden cardiac arrest, that touches me most. Many parents have told me how therapeutic their involvement with my Heartfelt work has been for them. That is one of the biggest rewards for me.”
And she is ever so grateful for the fact she is still alive.
“Often, the gift of purpose comes from great adversity. I am grateful for my life and survival and wish to both experience and share joy to the best of my ability,” she says. “Furthermore, I am even more dedicated to save more lives via early detection.”
When asked what Kindness & Hope mean to her, Holly says: “This question nearly brings tears to my eyes. HOPE is an amazingly beautiful word and concept. HOPE is courage/love/life. Without HOPE, there is nothing. KINDNESS – is something I always want to aspire to show.”
We think she has done just that — so far to date, she estimates that HCP organization has “saved hundreds of lives over 17 years.”
***HCP is our Non-profit Of The Week