A Long-Distance Friendship Inspires a Lifetime of Support

For many years, Caroline Jackson has donated to Children’s HeartLink once or twice a year, joining a community of individuals who support our mission. She was introduced to Children’s HeartLink through her friend Peggy Johnson. Caroline began supporting our organization because she was so inspired by Peggy’s commitment to the children we help. Caroline’s commitment grew as she heard more stories about the children who thrive after getting the medical care they need. Gifts from people like Caroline make a huge impact when taken together.

At the historic St. Paul Hotel in the late 1990s, Children’s HeartLink volunteer Peggy Johnson met Caroline Jackson, founder and manager of the American Holiday Tour. The tour’s Tea and Dinner with Dickens performances brought Minnesotans to the elegant hotel each year. Peggy and her family were frequent and enthusiastic attendees.

“In our conversations, I learned about Peggy’s involvement with Children’s HeartLink,” Caroline recalls. “With her training as a nurse, I took particular interest in her volunteer work with Children’s HeartLink and its mission. She and her husband Dr. Bruce Johnson were among the valued medical volunteers who taught and assisted with worldwide surgeries that treated needy children with heart disease.”

“After a decade of these tours to Minnesota, I wanted to establish a continuing connection with Peggy and her family. She lives in Minneapolis, and I’m in Virginia. Donating to Children’s HeartLink provided that connection.”

For 15 years Peggy and Caroline have kept in touch through email and warm holiday letters. “Each year I donate in her honor, affirming her volunteer work with Children’s HeartLink,” says Caroline. “I’m grateful to her for connecting me with this organization whose mission I now understand and support, through the stories and photos of children worldwide whose heart surgeries give them a chance to live and play, to grow and love.”

Children’s HeartLink saves children’s lives by transforming pediatric heart care in underserved parts of the world. Founded in 1969, we currently support 18 partner hospitals in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. Last year alone, the medical providers we trained served 177,000 children with heart disease, more than ever before.