One morning in February 2005, at the suggestion of his friends and family, David Ortiz went to CEDIMAT Hospital to visit children who had recently received life-saving heart care operations. David was hoping he could help put a smile on the faces of these young children, and help them to forget their troubles for a moment.
The children he was visiting had all received heart surgery through the work of Heartcare Dominicana, an NGO in the Dominican Republic, which routinely joined forces with U.S. based not-for-profits such as International Hospital for Children, to train local medical personnel to provide much needed operations to native children in need.
As David walked through the Intensive Care Unit, he saw children who reminded him of himself in his youth. They should have been out playing in the ball fields, not fighting health problems. He spoke to the kids and their parents and was amazed by their resilience. When he reached the last bed, he saw a two-year old boy who was recovering from surgery and crying into the arms of his mother. David’s own son was the same age, and, thank God, healthy. This boy looked so fragile, so small. David was overwhelmed. He left the hospital that day tearfully uttering his desire, his need, to do something for these children. He made a promise that he would help them somehow.
After David’s historic season with the Boston Red Sox in 2006, he hosted a fund-raiser which raised dollars through personal contributions, ticket sales and a silent auction. The money raised through this fund-raiser allowed David to give back to the children who touched him a year prior. Soon after, David established the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, in partnership with International Hospital for Children. The next time he visited CEDIMAT Hospital, David came with a check for $200,000 made out to Heartcare Dominicana so that Heartcare Dominicana could continue and expand upon the great work they were doing. That same day, David met Diana Reyes, a 14 year old girl from San Pedro de Macoris who was the first official beneficiary of the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. Diana’s eyes lit up when she saw David come in to her room as she said “Thank you for giving me the chance to live.”
Since then, the David Ortiz Children’s Fund (DOCF) has been dedicated to raising funds that enable children in the Dominican Republic and the Northeastern United States to have access to the pediatric critical care they need to live full, productive lives. Funds are raised through personal donations, public donations, corporate partnerships and fund-raising events.
In 2008, David was awarded UNICEF’s Children’s Champion Award.
In 2009, the DOCF formed an official partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital for Children to continue and extend its life-saving mission in New England.
The DOCF is proud to partner with the following organizations to carry out its mission:
Heart Care Dominicana
Heart Care Dominicana Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides cardiovascular care for indigent patients in the Dominican Republic. The organization’s mission is to provide care for patients whose income prevents them from getting the required cardiovascular procedures to lead a healthy life; thus providing a better quality of life for them and their families. The beneficiaries are evaluated, diagnosed, and treated locally, assuring a high quality of treatment, evaluation and follow up. Since 2000, Heart Care Dominicana has been providing cardiovascular care to underprivileged children through pediatric surgical missions aided by international organizations, fulfilling two main objectives: reducing the urgency of those in need of surgery and providing training to our local medical personnel in the advance techniques of pediatric heart surgery. After six years of training, the Heart Care Dominicana pediatric cardiovascular surgical team started its local program in 2006.
World Pediatric Project
World Pediatric Project is a non-profit organization linking pediatric critical care services to children in developing countries. WPP also helps build indigenous health care capacity: saving lives now while transforming pediatric health outcomes for years to come. Most developing countries lack access to pediatric critical care resources. Skilled professional in these countries stand ready, and eager to learn specialized pediatric procedures firsthand from the WPP's surgical and diagnostic teams. WPP's goal is to raise the level of care in their partner countries. Through an international network of medical partners, WPP provides the critical skills, financial resources and organizational foundation to provide the needed surgeries.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital is the oldest and largest hospital in New England with a tradition of excellence. Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHfC) is dedicated to providing outstanding, personalized, developmentally appropriate care for infants, children and adolescents. Through MGH’s growing network of community-based facilities and pediatricians, they are able to provide excellent care to families throughout the region.