Children’s Heart Project Helps 1,000 Kids: 4-Year-Old Mongolian Girl Brought to U.S. for Surgery

International Christian Relief Organization Samaritan’s Purse Celebrates Milestone, Thanks Doctors and Volunteers for Generosity

The outlook for four-year-old Nomin was grim. A child of poor parents in Mongolia, she was suffering from Tetralogy of Fallot, a rare congenital heart defect. The surgery she needed is not available in Mongolia. Without that treatment, doctors say Nomin would not have survived to adulthood. Now she has the opportunity to play and enjoy life like other children her age, thanks to the efforts of Samaritan’s Purse and doctors at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center who performed life-saving surgery on March 5.

What makes Nomin's story really special is that she is the 1,000th child who received surgery through the efforts of Children’s Heart Project, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. Mayo Clinic will join Samaritan’s Purse in celebrating this milestone with an event at Mayo Clinic on March 20.

Children's Heart Project has partnered with more than 65 North American hospitals since the project began in 1997. Some of the doctors involved in Nomin’s treatment have immersed themselves in this critical ministry. Dr. Joseph Dearani, has performed most of the 67 surgeries done at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, including Nomin's. Dr. Allison Cabalka, a pediatric cardiologist, and Dr. Philip Fischer, professor of pediatrics and chair for global child health, have been integral to this long-standing partnership by not only volunteering to oversee medical treatment, but also by serving as host families. The care provided to these children continues Mayo's 150-year-old tradition of serving humanity and providing hope and healing to patients across the globe.

The medical care Nomin is receiving is just one part of her journey to recovery in the U.S. Her surgery would not have been possible without the support of the local families who are serving as hosts. These host families provide food, lodging, and transportation to medical appointments for the child, a parent, and interpreter. Many Mayo Clinic doctors generously contribute to this project by joining the ranks of the local host families.   



    • Cindy Bonsall, director of Children's Heart Project

    • Mayo Clinic Children's Center physicians: Dr. Joseph Dearani, Dr. Philip Fischer, and Dr. Allison Cabalka

    • Nomin's mother and host family

  • ATTEND: 1,000 Hearts Celebration Event

    • Time: Thursday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m.

    • Location: Nathan Landow Atrium 
      Mayo Clinic Gonda Building (subway level)
      200 First Street SW
      Rochester, MN 55905

  • B-roll and photos of Nomin at home in Mongolia and at doctors visits at Mayo Clinic are available

About Children's Heart Project
Children's Heart Project, a ministry of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, is led by Franklin Graham. The project screens and identifies children suffering from congenital heart defects and in need of surgery, locates physicians and hospitals in North America willing to donate their medical services, arranges for host families, and accompanies the children, their mothers, and an interpreter to North America—furnishing round-trip transportation. To find out more, visit

About Mayo Clinic
Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit or