My name is Marissa, I'm 22 years old, and I recently graduated from The College of New Jersey with my nursing degree.  Thanks to Deborah Heart and Lung Center and their Children of the World program, I am alive and have the incredible privilege of working at the very hospital that saved my life.


I was born with six complex congenital heart defects and before the age of 2, I had undergone three open heart surgeries. I’ve grown up with slight limitations in relation to sports and physical exertion, and down the road, may encounter additional complications due to my Congenital Heart Disease. You see, CHD not only affects the heart but can ultimately cause chronic illnesses in various body systems. 


Amazingly, some of my nurse managers at Deborah today are the same nurses who cared for me when I was a patient in the pediatric unit between 1996 and 2000. Working with them is a humbling experience, and one that I cherish each and every day. It is truly incredible to see, through the eyes of a patient-turned employee, how far Deborah has advanced.


The Children’s Heart Center at Deborah embodies the extraordinary advancements that have been made in technology, techniques and specialized healthcare delivery. Our expert board certified pediatric cardiologists have teamed with specialists from St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Rowan Medicine, and Deborah Specialty Physicians (a non-profit physician corporation aligned with Deborah) to enhance the pediatric cardiac care and expertise to Deborah’s main campus, as well as to conveniently located offices throughout the region. This ensures that the Children’s Heart Center at Deborah offers easy access to a full continuum of care for children with congenital heart defects and those at risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease.


Remarkably, some of Deborah’s specialized pediatric cardiology programs remain the only ones offered in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These specialty programs include:

  • Fetal Cardiology
  • Preventative Cardiology
  • Healthy Hearts for Teens
  • Adult Congenital Heart Disease


As a result of the tremendous progress and successful care for children with congenital heart defects, there are now more adults than ever with congenital heart disease. This trend necessitates the need for integrated programs like ours that can seamlessly transition patients from pediatric to adult care. As a result, Deborah continues to provide the best care and outcomes in the region.  Deborah remains committed to investing in the newest technologies while recruiting the most highly-skilled and compassionate team of professionals in the country. Our commitment to providing the region’s best pediatric cardiology care for children can only be maintained through the extra margin your individual support provides.


Therefore, I ask you to please join me in making a contribution to Deborah Hospital Foundation today. Your gift enables Deborah to continue providing world-class care which will help save the lives of children with serious heart defects.  I am living proof of this, and for that I will remain eternally grateful.


With appreciation,


Marissa Mendoza, BSN, RN

Deborah Heart and Lung Center


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