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.

Will Harvey, Board Member

Will and his wife, Sarah, have a 1-year old son and live in the Northern Virginia area. He met Ryan several years ago and they started a Bible study shortly after, which allowed him to learn more about Wholehearted and all they do. Wholehearted’s mission to serve families in dire need and to be the hands and feet of Jesus is why Will connected with them so quickly. Will feels incredibly grateful to play a small part in assisting these families, and is excited to see everything the Lord does through Wholehearted moving forward.

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.

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