Jackson Health Foundation’s International Kids Fund Luncheon Draws Hundreds

Alexander Mijares, International Kids Fund, Circle of Heroes Luncheon

Over 250 compassionate supporters of the International Kids Fund Wonderfund (IKF) attended the 2016 Circle of Heroes Luncheon, held April 14 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables. The luncheon celebrated the lives of the many children saved thanks to the generosity of IKF’s Circle of Heroes. The luncheon also served as a platform to thank Circle of Heroes donors and to welcome new members.

IKF, a program of the Jackson Health Foundation, provides support to children from around the world who are in need of life-saving and life-changing medical care that is not available to them in their home country. IKF counts on the support of a dedicated group of benefactors and health care professionals – the Circle of Heroes – who, through their generosity and volunteerism, make a difference in the life of each child IKF serves.

“There are many children and families around the world who turn to IKF hoping for a miracle. IKF serves as the catalyst for providing life-saving care to families who otherwise would not be able to afford it.”


During this year’s luncheon, Mariana Sanchez, Chairwoman of the IKF Advisory Board and a member of the Jackson Health Foundation’s Board of Directors, recognized the Espino family. Their daughter Virginia was able to receive life-changing medical care at Holtz Children’s Hospital. The Espino family has made it their mission to give back and to support IKF so that other children may receive medical care.

“The International Kids Fund gave my family the resources we needed to give our daughter her life back,” said Virginia’s father Ramphis Espino. “We are very grateful to those who donated to help our child. We want to make sure that other families around the world get the care they need.”

TV personality and philanthropist Carolina Diago served as Mistress of Ceremony. Sponsors of the Circle of Heroes luncheon included DIA-M.co, La Maison De Pascale, Southern Wine & Spirits, Selecta Magazine and the Miami Herald. Miami-born and internationally acclaimed artist Alexander Mijares donated a hand-painted artwork entitled “Accept the Change” that served as the luncheon’s backdrop and was auctioned off during the event.

Since 2001, IKF has facilitated medical care for more than 650 children at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the UM/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. They have been treated for conditions ranging from tumors, to cardiac conditions, to organ transplants. Each year, the number of requests received from parents and guardians desperately seeking medical care for their children, continues to grow.

“There are many children and families around the world who turn to IKF hoping for a miracle,” said Niurka Del Valle, IKF Director and Sr. Director of Development. “IKF serves as the catalyst for providing life-saving care to families who otherwise would not be able to afford it.”

“Medical care for children helped through IKF is provided by Jackson Health System’s Holtz Children’s Hospital, said Keith R. Tribble, President and CEO of Jackson Health Foundation. “And, because of the generosity and support of our donors, doctors, and caring individuals, IKF has become the miracle that so many families hope for.”

Joining the Circle of Heroes is simple – with a pledge of $1,200 yearly, for 5 years, IKF ‘Heroes’ help families globally find the critical care needed to treat their child’s medical crisis. From organ transplants to surgeries that restore hearing, IKF makes miracles happen for children around the world.

For more information on the International Kids Fund Wonderfund (IKF), visit www.wonderfund.org or call (305) 585-5888.