In the News

local-heroes-0216-3Lots of Heart
She reaches out to kids with cardiac problems
By Terry Kaufman
Local Heroes
Before Liam O’Brien was born, his parents knew he would be special. Liam’s dad, Mike, had a heart with a bicuspid valve—two flaps rather than three—and there was a good chance that Liam would also have an anomaly.Liam entered the world in February 2011 with several heart defects, including a large hole in his heart. At six months, he had his first open-heart surgery. During his short life, Liam has had one blood transfusion, two catheterizations, two open-heart surgeries, and surgery to install a pacemaker.

“This is six hospital stays, surgeries and procedures in his four years of life and is common for heart kids,” says his mom, Suzanne. She describes the blood transfusion Liam had at five months: “It took a hundred tries to get the IV in.” Today, Liam plays soccer and does the things that other kids do. “After we’ve been through something, we try to get everything back to normal,” says his mom. “We want to let him do things until he can’t do them.”

Through it all, the O’Briens have benefited from the expertise of the cardiologists and child life specialists at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Even more, they have been embraced and supported by Angels for Hearts, a local nonprofit whose mission is to help the families of pediatric heart patients.local-heroes-0216-2

“We learned about Angels for Hearts from the child life specialist at the hospital,” says Suzanne O’Brien. “They’re a great asset for families of heart kids.” The organization assists the entire family, including siblings. When the O’Briens’ eighth wedding anniversary coincided with Liam’s second open-heart surgery, Angels for Hearts delivered dinner to the couple at the hospital.

The principal archangel of Angels for Hearts is Kimberly Kaufman. More than a decade ago, at the age of 30, Kaufman was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She went from being a successful businesswoman living on her own to a cardiac patient.

“I was housesitting for my parents and didn’t feel good,” Kaufman recalls. “I called my parents and said I thought I was dying. My mom said it was probably heartburn. I was 29 years old, so I just went with it.”

It wasn’t until she went to Stanford for surgery in 2004 that the puzzle came together. “No one caught that I had had a heart attack on their charts, but they did one more CAT scan,” she says. “I was at Arden Fair mall and got a call from the hospital telling me that I had an echocardiogram at 6:45 the next morning. It was heart failure. My heart was three times its normal size. My parents were on a plane to Hawaii, and the cardiologist sat with me until we reached my parents.”

Kaufman’s parents took the next plane back to the mainland, and their life was forever changed. An angiogram confirmed that Kaufman had experienced not heartburn but a “widowmaker.” A pacemaker was implanted and she was fast-tracked for a heart transplant. Then she was taken off the list: A unique constellation of conditions rendered her ineligible.

As she was absorbing the sobering fact that she would spend what was left of her life on “comfort and care,” Kaufman noticed that there were children on her hospital floor, in the adult cardiac ICU. She asked why they weren’t at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital next door and was told that there weren’t enough beds for all the pediatric heart patients.
local-heroes-0216-1“I had been raised to do for others,” she says. “It was almost Christmas, so I asked the nurses for a wish list. I cleared out my savings account—$100—and asked my mom if we could go shopping for the kids. We spent $249.90 at Target and snuck into Lucile Packard to leave presents from Santa. The next year we raised $5,000 so that the kids could experience the pure joy of getting gifts from Santa. We filled four SUVs with toys, and we also brought gift cards to the child life specialists.”

Angels became a nonprofit in 2008 and has raised $175,000 to date for patients and their families at Stanford, UC Davis and Sutter hospitals. In partnership with First Tee, it sponsors I (Heart) Golf camp, where heart kids can enjoy a heart-friendly sport year-round. In alternate years, Heart Kids Rock and When I Grow Up programs are held. This year, Angels was chosen as the Open Your Heart chairs for the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball.
“I don’t think I would still be here if it weren’t for this work,” says Kaufman with stark candor. “They can’t help me, but I can help someone else. I get to create my legacy and see it while I’m still here.”

To learn more about Angels for Hearts, go to

Terry Kaufman can be reached at



A re-imagined California Pizza Kitchen is reflected in every detail, from décor and design to a new bar area, new hand-tossed California-style pizzas, innovative cocktails, wine flights and Wine on Tap

Sacramento, CA (November 9, 2013)— California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the authority on California-style pizza and an industry leader in creative dining, today announced the completion of its newly re-imagined Arden Fair Mall location on Monday, November 4, 2013. California Pizza Kitchen’s Recipe for Re-imagination features a complete interior redesign with more seating and a new bar area, new hand-tossed California-style pizzas and innovative, California-themed cocktails, wine flights and Wine on Tap.

“We have been anxiously waiting to introduce our re-imagined restaurant at the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, and we hope that it will inspire guests and remind them about what made them fall in love with California Pizza Kitchen in the first place. We are going back to our California roots to provide an authentic, elevated-yet-relaxed atmosphere for casual diners, families and foodies alike,” said California Pizza Kitchen CEO, G.J. Hart

The 4,991 square foot restaurant now seats 137 total guests in a redesigned communal space. The new look was developed with sustainability in mind and California’s environmental roots are evident in the use of unfinished, reclaimed wood both inside and outside of the restaurant, offering a casual but refined feel that is very warm in color. LED lighting is used throughout the space.

The re-imagined menu features a wide selection of signature flatbreads with new ingredients and flavor combinations, including a new spicy fennel sausage, two different types of pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, hand crumbled wild Greek oregano, freshly torn basil and more.

In addition to the main dining area, the restaurant now has a new bar that can accommodate up to 15 people. Guests can order from the full restaurant menu and enjoy an extensive selection of cocktails, including five new signature drinks: the “Coconut Kaffir Cooler,” made with Hangar 1 “Mandarin Blossom” Vodka, Perfect Purée Coconut and Kaffir Lime Leaves and a Strawberry Basil Martini made with VeeV Acaí Spirit, Perfect Purée Strawberry and fresh agave sour. There are also three wine flight options, each with three, three-ounce glasses from the menu; and this location is introducing Wine on Tap, which utilizes re-usable stainless steel containers, eliminating waste and maintaining quality from grape to glass.
From 3-5pm and 8:30-close, Monday through Thursday, the bar will offer an appetizer and drink menu with special prices on cocktails, wine, beer and select appetizers and small plates such as Spicy Chicken Tinga Quesadilla, White Corn Guacamole + Chips and Asparagus & Arugula Salad.

About California Pizza Kitchen

Born in Beverly Hills in 1985, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) is a leader in authentic California-style cuisine and is widely known for its innovative menu items. California Pizza Kitchen provides a range of California-inspired dishes, from signature hand-tossed and hearth-baked pizzas, to imaginative salads, pastas, entrées, soups, sandwiches and cocktails. A Southern California classic, CPK incites international cravings in more than 11 different countries. For more information on California Pizza Kitchen visit Follow us on Twitter @calpizzakitchen, like us on Facebook at and stay connected through (#cpknextchapter).

Press Contact:
Cassy Salyer

PINC Fundraiser – 2013

Fundraiser to Benefit Angels For Hearts (click on this link for the KCRA News video)

Valentine’s Day at UC Davis Medical Center


When I grow up …’ career fair held for heart patients

Career event helps young heart patients be upbeat about their future.

I Care: A heart of gold for kids with heart conditions

Share Your Healthy Heart – The Suburban Woman

Heart Kids Rock

Christmas ‘Angels’ donate toys for Lucile Packard patients

“On the Heart and Wings of an Angel”
(Look for the story on Page 19)

“When I Grow Up” Encouraged Children with Heart Conditions to Dream About Their Futures

“Angels for Hearts”

By Carrie Harcharik, Director of Alumnae Relations, St. Francis High School

After some phone tag, when I made contact with Kimberly Kaufman’92 on August 21st, I had no idea I was in for one of the most moving conversations of my life.

Kimberly began with her tale of a storybook childhood; she enjoyed good health, fun times and the love of her family and friends. She went to college and experienced sorority life, followed by a satisfying career and opportunities to travel. She had everything anyone could ask for. Then, in November of 2004, Kimberly received news that would forever change her life. Her heart was three times its normal size and not functioning properly; she had congestive heart failure. The Stanford doctors informed Kimberly that she would need a heart transplant within 4-7 years due to how badly her heart was damaged. Sadly, in September 2006, they determined she was not a transplant candidate and would not be receiving a new heart. She now faced a reality she never imagined at such a young age– she was going to die.

That November, while in the hospital recovering from a heart surgery, Kimberly noticed two young children in the adult cardiac ICU in the main hospital at Stanford, rather than the cardiac ICU at Lucile Packard the Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Kimberly, herself fearful at times in the Cardiac ICU, knew how frightening it must have been for those children. Kimberly and her parents had spent many days and at times weeks at Stanford, away from home in the hospital or recovering in a hotel without any extra family and friends around. They knew for patients there is no sense of “normal.” Feeling extremely blessed for the great life she had, Kimberly asked what she could do. At a suggestion by the unit’s Child Life Specialists, she decided to bring Christmas gifts to the pediatric heart patients in the hospital so they could experience the joy of being kids on Christmas morning, have some sense of normalcy, and remember that they are children first and foremost before they are heart patients. That year, Kim collected $250 and a vision took wings.

The following year, the Kaufman’s set their sights higher. Through letters and emails to family and friends they formalized their efforts into “Angels for Hearts” and raised nearly $5,000. Kimberly shopped for specific items that would bring smiles to many young children’s faces and she and her parents arrived at Lucile Packard Hospital with four SUV”s full of toys, DVD players, and wagons. They also provided gift cards from VISA and stores such as Target for a “Wishes, Wants & Needs’” fund for the Child Life Specialists to use at their discretion to buy things for the pediatric heart patients, such as a birthday gift or a treat of a McDonald’s happy meal.

Heartened by their success in helping hundreds of families cope during a difficult time and assisted by the pro bono services of an attorney, the Kaufman’s incorporated Angles for Hearts in 2008. They established it as a charitable, public benefit nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status for the purpose of helping pediatric heart patients regain some sense of normalcy during their hospital stays. Kim said “I felt it was important to keep heart patients at the forefront of people’s minds, as they are sometimes overshadowed by patients with other illnesses. You don’t think of kids when you think of heart problems.”

The work Kimberly and her parents were doing was making a huge impact, and the generosity of Angels for Hearts supporters continued to inspire the Kaufman’s. When the 2008 donations approached $15,000, Angels for Hearts expanded its program beyond Lucile Packard Hospital to Sutter Memorial Hospital and UC Davis Children’s Hospital, both located in Sacramento. Like Santa’s secret helpers, Angels for Hearts shopped for and purchased gifts for Child Life Specialists to distribute to the pediatric heart patients on Christmas morning.

Energized by the success of Angels for Hearts during the Christmas season, the Kaufman’s next devised a summer event for pediatric heart patients in the Sacramento area. As Kim explains, “All children, with or without pediatric heart issues, dream about what they want to be when they grow up.” With this in mind, Angels for Hearts partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis Children’s Hospital to hold the first annual “‘When I Grow Up…” event in August 2008. Dozens of families attended and the children interacted with “grown-ups” from over 25 professions: teachers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, doctors, military personnel, bakers, chefs, and others. The children left with goodie bags filled with photos taken with the professionals, t-shirts, magnets, ceramic “When I grow up…” plates that they decorated with artists and, best of all, many unforgettable memories of being “just a kid” for a day.

Despite Kimberly’s poor medical prognosis, she states, “I am not one to say ‘woe is me.’ Starting Angels for Hearts and working with these children has brought me a world of peace. The children I’ve come in contact with are so resilient and full of life. This is a great legacy to leave behind and I know it will be my parents’ way of taking care of me when I’m in heaven.”

Just as the young heart patients inspire Kimberly, she in turn has provided inspiration and joy to countless children and their families. With her incredible inner strength and positive outlook, this extraordinary young woman has reached out with love to those whose lives she understands so well. She will always be the angel in their hearts.