Ryan Koppel, Founder
Ryan and his wife Kristen’s several month hospital stay in early 2014 with their son Caleb at Children’s National Cardiac Intensive Care Unit helped them understand what families in pediatric cardiac crisis experience on a daily basis. They witnessed how the physical distress of a young child experiencing life threatening heart disease can impact all areas of their family’s life. This inspired Ryan to create Wholehearted Foundation to meet the desperate need of these families.
Jacques Rancourt, Co-Founder
Jacques is uniquely equipped to serve the families of children with pediatric cardiac crisis. He and his wife, Emily, have adopted 2 children (Lily and Thaddeus) from China that were labeled terminally ill due to congenital heart disease. These complex medical conditions have required multiple open heart surgeries including a heart transplant for Lily. The Rancourts have stayed many months in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit of Children’s National Medical Center and have a tremendous understanding of the stress a family can endure in such an environment.
Nathan Myers, Board Member
Nathan and his wife Holly have three children. Their youngest child, Caroline has had medical procedures and hospitalization at Children’s National Medical Center. This experience showed Nathan how childhood illness can put a great deal of stress upon the family. In addition, Nathan and his family followed the Koppel family journey with Caleb very closely and are very familiar with the Children’s National Medical Center Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
Joshua Jablonski, Board Member
Joshua and his wife Tiffany have four boys ranging in ages from one to eight. While the Jablonski family has been blessed to have never had a child with a severe illness, they have stood by the Koppel family’s side throughout Caleb’s entire journey. Joshua has been to visit the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Children’s National Medical Center many times and has been a direct witness to the struggles families face while there.
Will Gaines, Board Member
Will and his wife Amy have three children, Alyssa, Ava and Ryan. Will met Ryan Koppel through working in the Real Estate industry and the Gaines family quickly became a part of Team Caleb, praying for and supporting the Koppel family throughout Caleb’s journey. Will feels as though the children at Children’s National Medical Center are huge heroes in the Gaines’ household. Witnessing Caleb’s courageous journey inspired Will to support the mission of Wholehearted Foundation.
Behzad Fathi, Board Member
Behzad and his wife Candice have two sons, Javid and Arman. Behzad has had the honor of being a missionary and being part of Christian non-profit work for many years. His passion is to serve and pray with families in distress and in need. As such, Wholehearted Foundation’s mission to meet the spiritual, financial and emotional needs of families of children in cardiac crisis deeply resonates with him. Behzad feels as though serving these families is an honor, as they continue to amaze him and challenge his faith with their example of perseverance.
Kristen Koppel, Board Member
Kristen, along with her husband Ryan (founder) welcomed their twin boys in February 2016, and this is when their journey into the Congenital Heart Disease world really took off. Kristen and Ryan’s son Caleb was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and has endured three open heart surgeries, along with countless other procedures. It was during these long hospital stays in which Kristen saw first-hand how having a child with congenital heart disease can put extreme stress on a family. Kristen can relate to many parents who have to decide how to split their time between the other children at home and their child in the hospital. She is excited to also bring her experience and knowledge in various programs that children with CHD are eligible for.
Emily Rancourt, Board Member
Emily and her husband Jacques have a full house! They have two biological daughters, two daughters adopted from China, a son adopted from China, and a daughter adopted domestically from the USA…that’s a total of six children. Lily Grace and Thaddaeus, both adopted from China, were born with single ventricle hearts. In order to juggle the demands of a large family, Emily and Jacques had to divide and conquer through their children’s extensive hospital stays, one of which was a heart transplant recovery fir Lily. With Emily also working full-time as a University Program Assistant Director, she can relate to working mothers who need to balance work and family while also spending the majority of their time at the hospital with their medically fragile child.