Friday, March 15, 2013

A little puppy love is good for the heart

On UnitedHealthcare’s list of recommended treatments for heart conditions, you typically won’t find “puppy” listed.

But this week, it was just what the doctor ordered for Samad, a 3-year-old boy from Philadelphia who suffers from a severe heart condition known as Long QT Syndrome.

Through his illness, Samad hasn’t asked for much but there was one thing he wanted more than anything: a puppy.  When Samad’s mom rewarded him with a dollar one day for doing a good deed, Samad carried it around with him constantly.  When anyone asked what he was going to buy with his dollar, he invariably replied, “my dog.”

Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia & Susquehanna Valley fulfilled Samad’s dream with a friendly female puppy dubbed “Dolly Dollar.” At UnitedHealthcare, we pitched in to throw Samad and Dolly Dollar a puppy shower at our offices to make sure they had all the supplies they’d need to make Dolly Dollar comfortable in her new home.

As part of a renewed three-year, $3 million alliance with UnitedHealth Group, each of Make-A-Wish’s 62 chapters is eligible to receive wish-granting funds.  UnitedHealth Group has funded more than 1,250 wishes beginning with its initial three-year, $4.5 million alliance in 2007.   Additionally, UnitedHealth Group employees and the dollar-for-dollar company match have resulted in more than $2.8 million in donations through the company’s annual United Giving Campaign.

Our partnership with Make-A-Wish often reminds me of the reason why I do what I do.  At UnitedHealthcare, our mission is to help people live healthier lives.  On a daily basis, it’s our job to focus on the details of how we help our plan participants connect with the right doctors, pay for the treatments they need, manage their health care, and adopt healthy habits.

But it’s also important to look up from the details once in a while and make sure that we don’t lose sight of the big picture. When we help people get the healthcare they need, they have more opportunities to enjoy the good things in life, like the love between a little boy and his new puppy.

And that’s a mighty good thing for the heart.

3-year-old Samad celebrating his wish come true with gifts from UnitedHealthcare

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