Please check back for more information regarding our 2nd Miles for Smiles fundraising walk in Spring of 2017. More details to follow shortly.



Our Story

Welcome to Hearts and Courage, The Tara Troy Gambardella Foundation, Inc. We are a recognized 501 (c)(3) charitable Organization. For calendar year 2012, 92% of all money raised went directly to the children in "Smiles for the Heart" and to the Scholarship program


This Foundation has been established to bring joy to others, to help turn a tragedy into life changing experiences for others, and to carry on Tara’s personality and spirit. This Foundation’s focus is to provide Scholarships to college students who have chosen to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. Also, we have established a “Smiles for the Heart” program, which helps to provide children who have serious Cardiac issues with an adventure, a gift, or a life changing experience that would otherwise not be possible without the help of this Foundation.


Tara Troy Gambardella was a fundraiser for non-profit organizations for more than a decade. Raised in New York and New Jersey, she was a 2001 graduate of the University of Hartford and member of the Pi Mu sorority. That same year, Tara was diagnosed with endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the mitral valve. At the age of 21, she underwent the first of two open heart surgeries at the Uconn Health Center to replace the valve. After the second valve replacement surgery in March of 2011, she began blogging about her experience in the hopes of educating and encouraging others in the same situation. Tara was excited about starting a family and soon became pregnant. There were no signs of any health concerns until the 5th month of pregnancy. She and her unborn son died on October 31, 2011.