The Foundation

...continuing the legacy of Prof. Christiaan Barnard...

In January 1997 the world’s most famous physician, Professor Christiaan Barnard, and the queen of hearts, Lady Diana, met for a long talk at Kensington Palace, London.

The two friends discussed an idea of Lady Diana’s: the establishment of a heart foundation for children. Lady Diana wanted Prof. Barnard to continue the work he considered most important; namely the salvation of children with heart disease.

Professor Barnard with young child

The surgeon Prof. Barnard had operated, free of charge, on hundreds of children from third world countries whose parents could not afford an operation but having developed arthritis and not being able to perform surgery himself anymore a new way had to be found.

Numerous telephone calls followed and it was discussed how to realise this idea in the best possible way. After the tragic death of Lady Diana in August 1997, Prof. Barnard was determined to realise the wonderful idea of his friend.

Together with his manager at the time and the support of the Arthur Andersen Group the Prof Christiaan Barnard Foundation was founded in 1998. The foundation did some amazing work but came to a stand still after his death in September 2001.

The newly founded Christiaan Barnard Heart Foundation was established by Prof. Barnard’s grandson, Tiaan Visser, family member Andre Wagner, cardiac thoracic surgeon Andre Brooks and Lynda Bleazard , all who share a passion for honouring the legacy of Prof. Barnard.

Prof. Barnard’s wished for two medical objectives to be defined for the foundation:

  1. Heart operations and medical aid projects for children
  2. Information campaigns on cardiovascular disease

In the last 10 years Prof. Barnard was intensively preoccupied with preventative medicine. His personal credo was: “I save the life of 150 people through heart transplantations. If I had cared about preventative medicine earlier, I would have saved 150 million people.”

The Foundation History

  • In 1998 the first Prof Christiaan Barnard Foundation was established by Prof Barnard himself and his then agent Walter Lutzinger
  • September 2001 Prof Barnard dies after suffering a severe asthma attack in Cyprus
  • After his death the Foundation is unable to continue its good work
  • In 2013 Tiaan and close family friend Andre Wagner start working on re-vitalizing the Foundation
  • In September 2016 they launch the newly re-vitalized Christiaan Barnard Heart Foundation outlining the 5 objectives of what the Foundation will work towards achieving
Meet the team