Meet Your Candidates

Your ballot-casting opportunities didn’t end on November 3! Now, it’s time to elect the officers for Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts who will guide these organizations for the next two years. Take time to get to know your candidates so you’ll be prepared to vote in January and February.

Mended Hearts

The Mended Hearts, Inc. President

Ron Manriquez

My name is Ron Manriquez. It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your president of Mended Hearts, Inc. I am

seeking a second term to continue advancing the Mended Hearts mission and vision.We have strengthened the communication between Mended Hearts chapters and Mended Little Hearts groups. I am proud of the chapters and groups who help us serve our hospitals and communities. Chapters and groups have started connecting with Zoom meetings. I will continue collaboration with the board of directors and staff, focusing on operational objectives and goals.

We have achieved a strong financial position and are following fundamental accounting principles, using auditors to ensure strict adherence. We have expanded our grant pipeline to ensure continuous funding for program development. World of Support is vital to broaden our scope of funding and we will continue to inspire and encourage membership participation.

Several new programs have enhanced the patient, parent and caregiver experience. We use video chat, phone calls and email outreach for the Visit Me program and have shipped iPads to hospitals who want to provide an alternative to in-person patient visits. We have introduced the Customer Service Contact Center for accredited visitors who are willing to visit via telephone, email or video. We will continue to offer new webinars on different topics related to heart disease.We will build on our strengths and overcome challenges. We are an organization that is compassionate and instills hope. I am proud to be your Mended Hearts president.

The Mended Hearts, Inc. Executive Vice-President

Denise Duch Widzgowski

Denise Duch Widzgowski has focused on heart disease for many years, as it is prevalent in her family. A heart transplant in 2013 halted her business career but launched her mission to “pay it forward.” After moving to Florida in 2016, Denise joined Mended Hearts Chapter 206 Palm Beach County as treasurer/secretary; she also became an accredited visitor and TAVR caregiver visitor.

In 2017, she facilitated the introduction of MHI to Piedmont Hospital. By 2019, she was appointed Southern ARD, was a member of the MHI National Board of Directors and chairperson of the MHI Nominating and Election Committees. In 2020, Denise joined the MHI Bylaws Committee. Her hospital, JFK Medical Center, nominated her for HCA’s Frist Humanitarian Award and in 2020 she won the Mended Hearts’ Regional, Division and National Volunteer of the Year Awards. She also chaired the first virtual MHI Regional Conference in September 2020.

In her business career, Denise was responsible for a $70 million enterprise which grew through her leadership in fiscal management, marketing, talent recruiting and developing partnerships. She uses these same skills as she dedicates her time to MHI. “It’s great to be alive and to help others” is far more than the MH motto; it is her personal motto and a way of life.

Denise and her husband of 34 years, Tom, live in West Palm Beach, Fla. They are the proud parents of a daughter, Morgan, who lives in Georgia with her husband and baby boy.

Mended Hearts Vice President

Marvin Keyser

Marvin Keyser joined Mended Hearts Chapter 9, Hartford, Connecticut, 23 years ago after bypass surgery. He became an accredited visitor and later served on the board of directors of the chapter both as vice president and president.

After losing his wife in 2000, he moved to Weston, Florida, in 2007 with his family and became active in the Hollywood (Florida) Chapter 161 as an accredited visitor and volunteer trainer. He is currently national vice president of The Mended Hearts, Inc., and has held the positions of assistant regional director and regional director in the Southern Region.

After a second open-heart surgery in 2010 for mitral valve repair and another surgery for peripheral artery disease (PAD) he became more involved with Mended Hearts.

Marvin is an active Mended Hearts member and a certified patient advocate. He also serves on many hospital committees, including the executive board of the Patient and Family Advisory Committee and the hospital volunteer board of directors. He was honorably discharged after more than eight years as a staff sergeant (E-6) in the U.S. Army Reserves and has more than 40 years of sales management experience.

Mended Hearts
Western Regional Director

Angela Manriquez

My name is Angela Manriquez. I am interested in serving our MHI membership in the role of regional director, Western Division. I have been a Mended Hearts member for 15 years and in leadership as chapter president and assistant regional director for 10 years. I have made many friendships that have made my MHI journey fun and rewarding. You may already know me because I have attended most national conventions and many regional meetings throughout the United States.

I am seeking this office because I feel these are exciting times for Mended Hearts, Inc. I would like to be part of this change and help us achieve our goals. I have established strong relationships with the current RD, ARD team and chapter leadership, Western Region. I am currently managing nine chapters as ARD. I am prepared to step up to the challenge of helping your ARD and your chapter be the best that they can be. Presently there are 40 chapters and satellites in the Western Region. We can work together to help each other and continue meeting the needs of all heart patients and their families.

As a caregiver to a heart patient, believing in the work we do is important. I have a per- sonal investment in MHI which makes me a committed, hardworking volunteer. I have been retired for eight years from a 35-year career at Southern California Edison, International.

As a wife, mother to three daughters and grandmother to eight grandchildren, I know how to advocate.

Mended Hearts, Rocky Mountain Regional Director

Ray Trapp

Ray was born in Chicago and worked in his family manufacturing business before moving to Idaho.

He has lived in Idaho for more than 40 years, is married with four grown children and retired after working in sales, marketing and management for a $4 billion privately owned company in Idaho. He has been a manager, coach and referee for a youth baseball organization for over 20 years. Ray is past director of the National Frozen Food Association, president of the high school parent/booster club and currently is a member of Parish Advisory Board. He joined Mended Hearts seven years ago after his heart event and is now a lifetime member.

As a member of the Mended Hearts Boise Chapter 380, he has held the positions of outreach, vice president and is currently president of that chapter as well as an accredited visitor/caller.

In 2017, he was awarded the Rocky Mountain Regional Heart of the Year Award. He has participated in many activities with Mended Hearts Boise 380 including fun runs, health fairs, cardiac rehab education, MLH fundraising and other events. A continued strong interest in growing the Mended Hearts family is his main focus.

Mended Hearts
Southwest Regional Director

Lloyd Jefferies

Lloyd Jeffries is a Mended Hearts Member in Temple, Texas, where he currently serves as president of Chapter 12 and is an ARD for the Southwest Region. Lloyd’s other duties are accredited visitor and visiting chair. Before becoming
a member in 2016, he was diagnosed with stage 4 heart failure and received an LVAD to improve his quality of life.

Lloyd received multiple vocational education training sessions while employed by NCR Corp., including computers, leadership, management, communications and diversity. During his 31 years he advanced from service technician to instructor to field manager. After retiring from NCR Corp., Lloyd’s final position before full retirement was curriculum devolvement manager. His staff of two editors supported over 28 educational courses for Computer Forensics at the Defense Computer Investigations Training Academy (DCITA) outside Washington, D.C. Since Lloyd was a certified technical trainer with security clearance, he was responsible for the professional classroom conduct training of the 25+ instructors.

The most important event in Lloyd’s life, other than his marriage to his devoted wife of 46 years, is the heart operation that changed his entire outlook on life. After the operation, Lloyd became more caring about others.

A Mended Hearts visitor, Millie Henn, visited him in the hospital and during her second visit he decided to become a volunteer visitor himself. While recovering in the hospital, he visited other patients as a head start to his newfound compassion. Lloyd later became the official LVAD ambassador for the hospital.

L. Minton “Minty” Rosenhouse

Connection is a word we’ve all been struggling with recently. How do we build a sense of community in a time when isolation is crucial? Finding this balance in the “new normal” is a major reason I’m running for regional director of Mended Hearts, Southwest Region.

A “new normal” is exactly what my wife and I found in 2012. After she recovered from complications of a heart surgery, we entered a new world — and Mended Hearts was there for us. I want to share that support with others who need it now and will need it in the future.

In my close to 50-year career as a CPA, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on multiple boards of professional groups. I’ve also been on committees for a variety of non-profits. All these experiences will help me enhance MHI’s reach in the Southwest Region and as a member of the MHI Board of Directors.

MHI can be an invaluable resource for the cardiac patient. It’s about providing an emotional support the medical professionals may not be able to.

The relationships my wife and I have built through this organization have been some of the most important of my life. Knowing we can share our story and have people connect with a shared experience is what drives me to serve.

Thank you for considering my candidacy, and I look forward to many more successful years with Mended Hearts in the future.

Mended Hearts
Southern Regional Director

Michael J. Weber

Mike had four-way bypass surgery in February 2001 at Florida Hospital in Orlando. Shortly after surgery, Mike received a call about a Mended Hearts chapter being organized in Orlando, Florida. He is one of the founding members of Central Florida Chapter 296 and has held various chapter positions over the years, including president. While serving as president, Mike organized and hosted a cluster meeting in Orlando. He is currently the visiting chairman and has been visiting heart patients at Florida Hospital (now Advent- Health) for 18 years.

Mike has attended seven national conferences and was on the committee that organized the Orlando conference in 2009 and the 2015 conference near Disney World.

Mike became an assistant regional director of Mended Hearts in 2010 and was elected Southern Region director of Mended Hearts in 2019. As an RD, Mike is also a member
of the MHI Board of Directors. He and his wife, Corine, live in Zellwood, Florida.

Mended Hearts
Northeast Regional Director

Robert L. Hoffman

My journey to Mended Hearts began in December of 1997, when I had a double bypass and mitral valve replacement at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Conn. I was visited by a Mended Heart volunteer named Marvin Keyser who was on his first unassisted visit. He gave my wife and I assurance I would be OK. Here we are, 22 years later. I joined Chapter 9 Greater Hartford in 1998 and began visiting shortly after. I later became visiting chair for St. Francis and have served as treasurer, vice president and secretary for Chapter 9.

When the Northeast regional director position became open due to the death of Frank Cecco, Marvin convinced me to run and I was elected. In 2019 I was appointed executive vice president by Ron Manriquez to fill that vacancy. I am a PAN visitor and have attended four national meetings.

I would like to improve and grow the Northeast to 40 chapters from the 24 we
have today. I have assisted in obtaining 100% of the annual reports for all Mended Hearts chapters and am working to contact hospital chains and obtain a corporate endorsement for Mended Hearts. I enjoy working with and meeting people in the region. I successfully put together a Northeast Regional Meeting in October 2019 in Worcester, Massachusetts, and had enough funds left over to donate $500 to Mended Hearts World of Support. I seek your support in running for office.

Mended Little Hearts

Mended Little Hearts Vice President

Angel G. Olvera

Angel Olvera lives in Mesa, Ariz., with his wife Anna and their four kids. Angel is the president/founder of Dagata Management and Consulting LLC and sits on the leadership team of Patient Educational Media Systems as director of sales and marketing.

Angel was recently recognized as one of the top 100 Healthcare Leaders by the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare for recent work with CHD media education and expanding a children’s program named ScratchGolf to promote physical, mental and personal growth for young CHD heart patients — like his 10-year-old son, Gabriel. Having a son born with CHD drives Angel to make sure his son and others have the support and resources they need to live normal, long and successful lives.

Angel brings over 25 years of strategic and operational business experience as a retail business manager with Pepsi and Hershey’s. He knows how to apply his experience to

an organization’s strategic vision to help the organization or small business move forward with their mission. This includes sustainable positive financial health, laying the groundwork to gain sponsors and donors, building contacts and creating business partnerships to give the organization a presence and brand awareness within the community. In addition, he excels at managing and building sales teams, strategic goal planning, P&L forecasting, problem solving and continued development of sales professionals.

Mended Little Hearts Mid-Atlantic Regional Director

Maryann Mayhood

Maryann Mayhood learned about Mended Little Hearts through her fetal cardiologist after finding out that her son would be born with a CHD called Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). After Joseph was born and had reparative open-heart surgery, she sought out a community of heart parents. Since then, as the lead coordinator of the Washington D.C. area MLH, the group has tripled in size, conducts monthly support group meetings, holds numerous educational sessions and supports two DC-area pediatric hospitals — Children’s National and INOVA Children’s Hospital.

Maryann has had a 25-year career in landscape design, sales and business management, and uses skills learned in a corporate world when she wears different hats within the MHI organization, on the board of directors, as Mid-Atlantic Regional Director or on various steering committees.

While MLH is close to her heart, new roles are emerging for her this year as Parent Room Mom since her son began (virtual) kindergarten and as homeschool teacher. She, her husband Ross, 6-year-old Joseph and a goofy Labrador named Winston live in Arlington, Virginia.

Mended Little Hearts Southwest Regional Director

Candida Schendel

Candida Schendel has been married to her high school sweetheart for 24 years. She and her husband are both public school educators and have two kids. Their 15-year-old heart warrior was diagnosed with hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS) at 18 weeks gestation. He has had three open-heart surgeries, multiple cath-erization procedures (including attempted ablation and Maze procedures) and history of arrhythmias. Their daughter is 7 years old and heart healthy.

Candida fondly remembers the support from family and friends in the early years of her son’s life, but even the best of intentions couldn’t provide the comfort needed to console the fears that every new heart parent feels. Those moments of desperation and despair became the driving force to make sure no one would have to be on that journey alone and to give hope to other new heart parents. She has been a member of the organization since 2007, when her son was 2 years old.

Candida was one of the original founding members of Mended Little Hearts of San Antonio. In her 13 years with them, she has held various leadership positions in the group and is now the Mended Little Hearts Regional Director for the Southwest region, a member of the board of directors and serves on the nominations and elections committees.

She looks forward to the opportunity to continue as the MLH regional director.

Mended Little Hearts Southern Regional Director

Catherine Lobien

Catherine Lobien joined the Mended Little Hearts family in 2014 after her youngest daughter was

diagnosed with a critical complex congenital heart defect. Developing a passion for helping families in similar situations, she took on the role of lead coordinator for Mended Little Hearts of Orlando in May 2017 and has led the group since.

As the leader of MLH Orlando, Catherine has been the guest speaker at Mended Hearts meetings and various local awareness and fundraising events. Catherine delivers Bravery Bags to her supporting hospital as well as taking time to hold small events at the hospital to introduce new families to the organization.

She joined fellow MHI members as a table exhibitor during the 2018 ACC conference in Orlando. Most recently, she became the Mended Little Hearts Southern Regional Director and joined the MHI Board of Directors. Catherine is a paraeducator for ESE pre-kindergarten and is working toward her teaching certificate in early childhood education. She resides in Central Florida with her husband and two children.

Mended Little Hearts Central Regional Director

Amanda Stewart

I am an on-the-go mom to three pretty cool kids: Reilly, Cuyler and Evy. My husband, Ryan, is the calm

to my calamity. I am employed full-time with a school as a board-certified behavior analyst working with special needs students. And I LOVE what I do!

I have been a member of Mended Little Hearts of SWPA since my second son was 2 months old. Cuyler was born in December 2010 and was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (a fancy way to say there were four structural anomalies with his heart). My husband and I were unaware that children could be born with broken hearts and were taken by surprise. We felt alone. Luckily,

I was connected to my local MLH group which provided me with the support needed stepping into my new role as a heart momma.

Once Cuyler’s first open-heart surgery was completed, I wanted to pay it forward and began volunteering with the group at different events. I stepped into the visiting/ outreach coordinator position with Southwestern Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) in 2013. I added the role of central regional director in 2017 and was blessed to be supported during Cuyler’s second open heart surgery in 2019.

I love this organization and have made my own personal goal of spreading awareness so one day no mother will be caught off guard as I was. I am incredibly grateful for my family and friends who have supported me through my volunteering and allowed me to give back.

Mended Little Hearts Rocky Mountain Regional Director

Anna Olvera

Anna and her husband, Angel, live in Mesa, Ari- zona. They have been married for 26 years and have four children. Their youngest child, Gabriel, was born with a congenital heart defect.

In August of 2019, Anna discovered she had an undiagnosed heart defect — anomalous right coronary artery and a bicuspid aortic valve. Anna had her first open-heart surgery in October of 2019 at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Having a child born with a CHD, Anna and Angel have had to navigate through many ups and downs in the healthcare system and through those experiences, Anna has become a better, stronger advocate. Her experience as a CHD patient and mother has increased her awareness, compassion and desire to serve the community and those in need of help and direction.

Anna is currently the co-group coordinator with her husband, Angel, at Mended Little Hearts of Phoenix. Anna is proud to be a part of an organization that makes helping others through peer-to-peer support a priority and is passionate about increasing CHD awareness and spreading the vision and mission of Mended Little Hearts.

Mended Little Hearts Central Regional Director

Sharee McCoy

In 2014, Sharee McCoy’s son Jude was diagnosed in utero with a double outlet right ventricle. She learned of Mended Little Hearts shortly after his birth and, after losing him in 2015, she remained in contact with one of the local coordinators. In 2016, she became a local angel coordinator and, knowing the struggles that are caused by grief, she became the National Bereavement Chair in 2017 to help other bereaved caregivers.

In 2019, Sharee added Midwest Regional Director to the list and in 2020 she joined
the board of directors. Sharee is proud to be part of an organization that feels like a family. She has a great passion to raise awareness about CHD and to help others through peer-to-peer support.

“Our children were born with broken hearts, fought hard battles and are now looking down on us as we fight the battle to raise awareness,” she says.

Sharee lives in Granite City, Illinois, with her heart-healthy rainbow son, Luka.

Mended Little Hearts Northeast Regional Director

Jennifer Angelone

My name is Jennifer Ange- lone, LMHC. I am a CHD warrior, diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot at birth and repaired with an open-heart surgery at 6 months old at Children’s Hospital in Boston. I am the lead coordinator for the Mended Little Hearts of Boston chapter, as well as the current Northeast regional director for Mended Little Hearts and a new member of the board of directors. I also sit on the steering committee and Patience Advocacy Committee for Mended Hearts Inc.

Outside of my involvement with MHI, I work as a mental health therapist providing my clients the space and compassion that they need to help develop resiliency to whatever adversity is impacting their lives. I find that my professional expertise to leadership and personal journey as a CHD warrior really helps my connection with the membership.

Being involved with Mended Hearts has given me so much empowerment, a voice I never knew I had and an audience willing to listen and share their own experiences with me. My mission has always been to advocate for the needs of children so that they can feel supported and brave!

It’s not all work for me; I enjoy dancing, reading, writing, photography and lots of other expressive activities. I love animals and enjoy spending my time working remotely with my cat, Sonny.

Mended Little Hearts Western Regional Director

Nicole Sanchez

My name is Nicole Sanchez, I am running for Regional Director in the Western Region for Mended Little Hearts. I have been a member of MLH since 2012 and am the Lead Coordinator of Mended Little Hearts of the Bay Area. I have also been the Western Regional Director for Mended LittleHearts for the past six years.

I got involved with Mended Little Hearts because I was born with a congenital heart defect called Tricuspid Atresia (HRHS). Growing up I didn’t know anyone who had a CHD, let alone the same one as mine. I am so grateful to Mended Little Hearts for the opportunity to help others born with a heart defect as well as their families. I believe MLH has a great future and I am so excited to be part of it.

I live in the Bay Area, CA with my husband and two beautiful children, and I’m a stay-at-home mom.

I am so passionate about growing Mended Little Hearts so that one day every family who is affected by CHD will feel the love and support of this wonderful organization.