The Art of Being Alive Series: Meet a Company on a Mission to Spread Happiness

05/18/2015 03:29 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2016


Adedayo Fashanu Interviews Heidi Burns, Founder and CEO of Project Happy Hearts, whose company is on a mission to spread happiness and create awareness for children living with congenital heart disorders.

"The Art of Being Alive" for each of us lies in our understanding of how we should emerge in the world and what role we choose to show up as in the world we live in. It is in how we see life as our blank canvas using every experience, every wound and scar, every big moments and small moments, every grain and bits of feelings and emotions, pain and pleasure that we carry inside create for ourselves something tangible to honor the reason why we are alive.

The facets of our lives constructs a story for each of us, this constructed story created by the weaves of our lives and existence is ultimately left in our hands to tell; for some the story they choose to tell and continue to tell convey victimization and pity because of their perception and the true reality of the way their lives have been weaved, for others yet they have been through the most unimaginable circumstances and have every reason to feel like a victim and carry this stigma and sign of how unfair life has been but because they carry this conviction in their hearts that life is only but a mere canvas; and beyond what circumstances they found themselves in, they see it as an equal blank slate and so they choose, they decide to rise and tell their story differently by being the true artist of their lives; they choose not to be a victim, they choose not to let circumstances keep them feeling self pity and small, they choose to use what others would call the unfortunate to create their fortune...and by doing this they truly depict the ART of being ALIVE.

This is the story of Heidi, my hero and true life ARTIST who has taken the unfortunate in her life to make it into a fortunate story and spreading herself for a bigger mission and purpose.

"On January 17, 2014 I woke up realizing that this may be the last time I ever wake up. I was heading to Stanford Medical Center to have my second open-heart surgery and I was scared to death, but I also knew I had lived an amazing life. When I woke up 8 hours later ALIVE and HAPPY I knew this operation had just changed my life dramatically." - HEIDI BURNS

Heidi created the organization "Project Happy Hearts"; lets dive into the interview and get inspired by her story, and get to learn exactlywhat her company is doing to spread HAPPINESS:

Adedayo: What is your organization about and why did you embark on creating this project?

Heidi: We are a company that is on a mission to spread happiness and create awareness for children living with congenital heart disorders. We are here to make your heart happy in hopes of inspiring you to make other hearts happy. Help us make the world a happier, healthier place.

Rewind 26 years ago and I was born blue at Children's Hospital Orange County. I was diagnosed with transposition of the greater vessels and at that time no one had performed the "switch" surgery in Orange County. About 5 days after I was on a private jet enroute to Boston Children's Hospital where I became the 100th baby to have the switch surgery.

I was lucky enough to live a completely normal childhood, played sports, traveled, had no restrictions other than visiting the cardiologist once a year. Whenever I went to the heart doctor I looked around and saw all the other kids who were not as lucky as me. Kids who did not get to live how kids should live and kids who are living in fear. 1 in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart disorder and more children die every year from heart disease than all childhood cancers combined. These facts break my heart and I thought just maybe I could use my story to bring awareness about congenital heart disorders and also that if we all live life with a happy heart, life could be that much better.

I created Project Happy Hearts in order to use my story to remind others that life is short, live it with a happy heart. Also in hopes to bring awareness to congenital heart disorders because it is an issue that is not talked about enough.

Adedayo: What is your desire and long term vision for this founding?

Heidi: For everyone in the world to ask themselves what makes your heart happy, then go do that. Also, I hope to be able to deliver happiness by on demand custom care packages for hospital patients to every single hospital in the United States.

Adedayo: What is the meaning of life to you?

Heidi: I think the meaning of life is to live. To live every single moment doing something that makes you happy and everyone else around you happy. Life is not meant to be lived alone, so I think everyone should grab a loved one and go do something FUN!

Adedayo: What exactly did starting this company mean for you, especially after your surgery?

Heidi: Starting this company meant quitting a job where I felt stable, leaving a city I loved, working 24/7, but it also meant getting to make a lot of hearts happy. Starting my dream to deliver happiness all over the world has been so very challenging, yet more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

Adedayo: Your company mission is...?

Heidi: At Project Happy Hearts we want to disrupt the hospital gift shop market. We want to deliver happiness, through fun, convenient, interactive and custom gifts to hospital patients nationwide. We want to create joy in the midst of chaos.

Adedayo: What would you describe your company's culture/environment as?

Heidi: Fun...duh. We do things that make our hearts happy every single day and then do at least one thing to make someone else's heart happy too.

Adedayo: "The Art of Being Alive" is a compilation of stories and interviews that will be documented into a coffee-table book, dedicated to our millennial generation to inspire this generation to live fully alive. I interview companies and brands in this series because I believe so much in what I call "A conscious company" ; a company with a story and a cause making a positive difference and creating change for the greater good. What does the term "Conscious Company" mean to you?

Heidi: A company that cares more about fixing a problem then making a lot of money.

Adedayo: What motto and philosophy does your company believes in?

Heidi: We believe in "Living every single day" and that "Life is short, live it with a happy heart."

Adedayo: What is your deepest desire?

Heidi: Project Happy Hearts wants to end sudden cardiac death in children. We believe we can do this and we will.

Adedayo: What sort of world do you dream of?

Heidi: A world where every single human asks themselves, what makes your heart happy? Every single day.

Adedayo: The essence of your work is what?

Heidi: To deliver happiness in the midst of chaos.

Adedayo: What is your definition of ART and creativity?.

Heidi: Art is anything that makes your senses jump for joy. Creativity is If it makes us smile or laugh or where we are all jumping up and down with so much passion.

Adedayo: I always have to ask all my interviewees this question. What is "The Art of Being Alive" to you?

Heidi: It means "Remembering that every single day is precious and to love more."

Adedayo: How would you describe your clients?

Heidi: Our clients are "So inspiring."

Adedayo: Your products matters because?

Heidi: With every purchase made we give back to children affected by congenital heart disorders.

Adedayo: This "Art of Being Alive Series" is to inspire aliveness in others, what is your way of inspiring aliveness?

Heidi:" To simply be grateful for being alive everyday."

Adedayo: Alot of millennials today like myself included are seeking more "Meaningful work," what does that term mean to you?

Heidi: You can work until 2am and still love what you are doing. And when you can be so proud of the impact that you are making that you want to shout it from the rooftops.

Adedayo: What Advice/message can you deliver to millennials on discovering their art of being alive?

Heidi: Ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Follow your passions, don't give up and live because you only have one life.

Adedayo: What is the solution and global impact you think you are making in the world?

Heidi: We are going to begin providing EKG heart tests for high school student athletes. We believe if we can save just one child from dying, then we have done our job.

Adedayo: Since this coffee-table book is dedicated to millennials, I want every interviewee to leave us with practical resources so that any one reading this or picks up the book, can have array of resources they can access to support them in their personal growth process as they discover their art of being alive. What is one resource you can recommend that has helped you?

Heidi: This Book titled "Do Cool Shit by Miki Agrawal"

Adedayo: Thanks for sharing your story with this community. Big love to you as you attain your goal of SPREADING HAPPINESS. Any words to leave us with for now?

Heidi: My question for you is, "What makes your heart happy?" Think about it, then GO DO THAT!
xoxo, Heidi

Heidi is running a kickstarter campaign, support her mission to SPREAD HAPPINESS,

INVITATION: Be part of "The Art of Being Alive Interview Series" by sending your entry requests here