Saying ‘thanks’ from the heart


February is American Heart Month, and Advocate Children’s Hospital heart families are saying thank you to donors who helped them during difficult times.

“We found out that Isaiah has double inlet left ventricle when I was pregnant with him at 17 weeks,” shared Glyza Vergara.

This condition meant Isaiah had only one working pumping chamber, or ventricle, in his heart. He had to have several surgeries in his first weeks and months of life. While he was in the hospital, his family received financial assistance through the Lewis A. Affetto Jr. Fund for Hope.

“We deeply and sincerely appreciate your help,” said Glyza. “There are not enough words that we can say to let you know how thankful we are.”

Dolly and Lewis Affetto Sr. started the fund in memory of their son, Lewis A. Affetto Jr. He was born with a congenital heart defect and passed away when he was just 24 years old. Since 2017, the fund has provided thousands of dollars in financial assistance to families at Advocate Children’s Hospital – including the Raspe family.


Sterling Raspe was born five months ago and has been in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit ever since.

“She has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, isomerism, and Kabuki syndrome. With all of these syndromes together she is a 1 in 700,000,000 baby! She truly is so special and is such a little fighter. We are just waiting for her G-tube surgery, a few weeks of recovery, and then we will be able to go home.”

They are also grateful for the assistance they received through the fund.

“We could never thank you enough for your kindness and how much you have helped alleviate our stress. This world needs more people like you in it. We truly appreciate what donors have done for us and for other families.”

The Cukierski family writes: “We just wanted to say thank you so much for all your generosity and support while we were in the hospital with our daughter, Gianna. It was such a difficult time for all of us and we appreciate you for helping make our lives a little easier.”

You can help too


In addition to financial assistance for families, the Lewis A. Affetto Jr. Fund for Hope also provides support for continuing education for clinicians, resources for programs aimed at improving the lives of those with congenital heart disease, and comfort items for families with a child in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.

The Affetto family are also generous donors to other Advocate Children’s Hospital programs, recently making a $25,000 gift to help families over the holidays.

“No family should have to worry about how to pay their bills when their child is critically ill,” said Dolly Affetto. “We are so glad that Lewis’s legacy of hope, determination and kindness will live on and help patients and their families for years to come.”

To support patients, families and programs through the Lewis A. Affetto Jr. Fund for Hope, please contact Jackie Pufundt at 630-929-6931 or