To honor his 10-year- old granddaughter who died after two multi-organ transplants, Juan Manfredi, 74, turned his heartbreaking loss into a lifetime of volunteering at Holtz Children’s Hospital.
For the past 14 years, he has dedicated his free time to sharing his love and affection with critically ill babies and children. Grandpa Juan – as he is affectionately called – has supported countless families during some of life’s most challenging moments. He roams the hallways of the hospital, wearing a blue polo shirt with “Grandpa” stitched on front, and carries a Spiderman backpack filled with fun electronics such as an iPad and iPhone for pediatric patients to play with. His presence holds real magic with everyone who crosses his path – from the doctors and nurses at the hospital, to the parents whose children he visits.
Grandpa Juan founded Amanda’s Friends, a non-profit that helps provide financial and emotional support to families of patients at Holtz Children’s. Many of the funds come from donations from his family and friends, which help caregivers with their needs, such as clothing, food, furniture, rent money, and funeral expenses.
Nov. 2009 Miracle Stories
Born at One Pound, One Ounce, Newborn Goes Home. Link opens story page.
On November 6, 2009, Gabriella Mercedes Gil finally went home - eight months after being born at Holtz Children’s Hospital, weighing just one pound, one ounce.Explore in story page.
Feb. 1991 Jackson History
First Pediatric Heart Transplant. Link opens story page.
On February 17, 1991, Bruce Brown became Jackson’s first pediatric heart transplant patient at age 16.Explore in story page.
Nov. 2003 Miracle Stories
Miss Florida Saved After Near Fatal Car Crash. Link opens story page.
After a truck swerved and toppled over onto the car Shauna Pender Vatrano was traveling in, paramedics turned to the Ryder Trauma Center team to save her life.Explore in story page.