Lincoln High School, Stockton
As the founder and president of Change…One Heartbeat at a Time (COHAAT), Nathaniel has proven that what began as a “simple project” (his words) can change the lives of many who reside thousands of miles away. For Nathaniel, it started when he learned a relative in the Philippines had chosen to forego a medical procedure to avoid financially burdening his family of eight; this relative soon passed away. Nathaniel recognized this was something that did not – and should not – have happened; no one, regardless of the country in which they live, should be asked to make such a devastating choice. Spurned to action, Nathaniel researched how he could make a difference and wrote a mission statement on what he wished to accomplish. This drive and dedication led him to secure meetings at Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology, services, and solutions, so he could present his mission and ask for donations. That then led him to the Philippine Embassy in San Francisco to elicit help in navigating the complicated requirements of a foreign system. And eventually that led him, twice, to the Philippine Heart Center in Manila and the creation of COHAAT. To date, COHAAT has procured over $300,000 in donated cardiac devices, collected and delivered 30 used pacemakers for reuse in patients, and presented a research protocol to the physicians at the Philippine Heart Center to study the safety and efficacy of reuse in developing countries. As Nathaniel now embarks on the next stage of his life, he is excited to expand COHAAT and discover how else he can support both his local and extended Filipino community as a second-generation Filipino-American.