Olesya’s story: Driven by love

Born and raised in Kazakhstan, I immigrated to America in 1998. I was given the opportunity to master two languages, Russian and English. In America, ‘the Land of Opportunity’, I received an education that led to my employment at the UC Davis Medical Center. As a Cardiac Principal Scrub Technician, I have worked with many incredible people. Two of these people, heart surgeons Dr. Gary Raff and Dr. Nilas Young, completely changed my life by introducing me to one remarkable family, the Heart to Heart family.

As I reflect on my missions with Heart to Heart, air seems to escape me. My love and passion toward the children we help drives me to continue volunteering. As a native Russian, I am able to communicate with our young patients directly and enjoy a personal relationship with each one of them. The ability to use the knowledge and experience that I have already obtained in my life to help others gives me incredible pleasure. Teaching and guiding the staff in Russia also give me great joy because I know that they will use that knowledge to save more lives. The patients and the staff that I have met through Heart to Heart are on my mind daily; I stay connected with many of them because each one of them holds a special place in my heart.

I hope that my involvement with Heart to Heart will allow me to continue serving the people of Russia, just as I serve people here in the United States. Heart to Heart has become my family and the cities we work in are like homes to me. Let’s continue saving lives together!


Olesya works as a Cardiac Principle Scrub Technician at UC Davis Medical Center.
She is responsible for preparing sterile operating rooms and assisting the lead surgeon throughout operations. She has participated on three Heart to Heart surgical-educational missions throughout Russia.
She is 27 years old.