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Stallone Shows He Has Heart

January 12, 1998

Actor Sylvester Stallone will present a check today to the newly founded Heart of a Child Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization to benefit research on congenital heart defects.

The money stems, in part, from proceeds on sales of T-shirts designed by Stallone and sold exclusively at Planet Hollywood restaurants, which he co-owns.

Stallone's support of the foundation follows the successful 1996 surgery at UCLA of his then-infant daughter, Sophia. She was born with a hole in her heart, which was corrected in a November 1996 operation by Dr. Hillel Laks, chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the heart and heart-lung transplant division at UCLA Medical Center. Laks directs the medical advisory board of the Heart of a Child Foundation and will accept Stallone's check on behalf of the foundation.

The Heart of a Child Foundation was created last year by two Los Angeles-area families whose children had suffered congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are among the most common types of birth defects.

"We looked around for something to donate to or support, and there was nothing in this country that furthers research specifically for congenital heart defects," said Jeffrey Bronchick, one of the co-founders of the Heart of a Child, whose infant daughter died of a congenital defect. "The surgery was successful for the Stallones. This gift will further research. This area is starved for research."

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