Philanthropy Testimonials

Jamie Napolitano, Heart Transplant Recipient

Heart transplant recipient Jamie Napolitano gives back to Ochsner Health System every chance she gets.

The 35-year-old mother of twins was diagnosed with heart disease when she was just three months old. Her condition prevented her from feeling fully healthy - until the transplant team at Ochsner replaced her failing heart in January 2009.

“I have never, ever felt better in my life,” Napolitano said. “I’ve been sick all my life, since I was diagnosed as a baby, so I didn’t really know what it felt like to have a heart that works. After the transplant, I just could not believe the energy.”

The Texas native moved to the New Orleans area in 2003. She worked in Pediatrics in the Child Life department at Ochsner for years before becoming a patient herself. “When I worked at Ochsner, I was the co-chair of the levee run for years,” she said. “I’ve also helped with all kinds of different fundraisers that they do. I’ve worked the Teddy Bear Clinic at the levee run, anything that they needed our help with.”

After undergoing her lifesaving treatment at Ochsner, Napolitano said she is more than willing to help the hospital in any way she can. “They were not only great to me personally, but also to the department that I worked for,” she said. “I’ll always be ready for any kind of fundraiser or volunteer effort.”

Destrehan Student Reaches Out to Patients With Rare Form of Cancer…

Destrehan High School senior Katelyn Ryan chose to research Carcinoid Cancer for her senior project. After learning more about this rare form of cancer, Katelyn decided to hold a Pastalaya Dinner Fundraiser to help support the “Zebra House” Fund at Ochsner. The money raised from this event provides housing for patients who come from out of town seeking treatment for this unusual type of cancer.Plans are to develop a “house” where these patients and family members can stay while they receive their treatment. Through the event and solicitations Katelyn raised over $2,400.


Pictured left to right are Paolo Zambito, former CEO of Ochsner Medical Center-Kenner; Katelyn Ryan; and Dr. J. Philip Boudreaux.