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Here at the HeartWay, our mission is to do our part to create a world
in which no one ever has to die alone, in pain, or without love.


We’re called to support and love the dying and their families as they navigate the most beautiful transition there is.

The HeartWay provides invaluable support by collaboratively crafting a visionary map alongside individuals nearing the end of their lives and their families. This empowering process aids in navigating the intricate challenges of fear, complex medical systems, emotional and spiritual terrains, as well as practical decisions related to end-of-life matters.

During the end-of-life transition, we support the dying, their caregivers, and their loved ones by providing:

  • End-of-Life Care
  • End-of-Life Advocacy & Planning
  • Grief Counseling
  • Personal Education
  • Healing Meditations, Ceremonies, Funerals & Memorial Services

Meet Our Founder


Andrea Deerheart, PhD, (or Deerheart, as she’s lovingly known) is the founder of The HeartWay, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to embracing life through honoring death. Her pioneering work draws on her wisdom gathered over decades spent providing loving care and healing to those on the journey of conscious living and dying.

Because she wasn’t allowed to visit them in the hospital or attend their funerals, she developed an intense fear of death and dying.

Years later, a dear friend was on the board of directors for a hospice organization. Deerheart asked if they needed any hospice volunteers — and her life changed forever.

Now Andrea’s trailblazing work centers on teaching about issues related to aging, radiant well-being, cultural mythology, death and dying, and living a more compassionate life — as well as grief, loss, and mindful, compassionate care.

She’s the author of the recording Yoga Nidra: Graceful Transitions, Andrea is also a 500hrRYT yoga instructor (the highest international standard for yoga teachers), a Certified Yoga Nidra Instructor, and a sought-after consultant, educator, writer, and poet.

Meet Our Senior Director


NIKKI BRAKE
brings over 20 years of nonprofit, development, and major gifts experience. She was drawn to the mission and purpose of The HeartWay. She understands how unique and deeply needed these services are for so many people around the world.

Nikki amplifies the mission and vision of The HeartWay by sharing her heart and compassion to help others while educating and supporting those who are grieving.

Meet Our Devoted Board Members

Andrea Deerheart, PhD is the founder of The HeartWay, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to embracing life through honoring death. Her pioneering work draws on her wisdom gathered over decades and centers around teaching about issues related to aging, radiant well-being, cultural mythology, death and dying, and living a more compassionate life — as well as grief, loss, and mindful, compassionate care.

She’s the author of the recording Yoga Nidra: Graceful Transitions, Andrea is also a 500hrRYT yoga instructor (the highest international standard for yoga teachers), a Certified Yoga Nidra Instructor, and a sought-after consultant, educator, writer, and poet.

Dr. Marc Halpern (Dr. Shiva) is the founder and President of the California College of Ayurveda, the oldest school of Ayurvedic Medicine in the United States, and a leader in the development of Ayurvedic Medicine in the West.

Mary Franz is honored to be a founding board member of The HeartWay. She served as Secretary for the Board for four years. Now retired, Mary’s career as a psychotherapist found her working in a variety of settings.

Ladan Sahafi is the CEO of Axon Consulting, Inc., an engineering firm providing process engineering and process safety services to the refining and mining industry.

Mr. Michael J. Goodman’s career in real estate has spanned 30 years. The last 16 years in real estate have included development, consulting, and real estate brokerage.

Lorraine Chavez comes to us with a wealth of experience in corporate marketing, development, and sales. Having personally benefited from The HeartWay's services, she is not only a supporter but a true advocate for the profound impact of our mission.

Dr. Denise DeZolt is an ELP who came to this space after a career in higher education. She is also a reiki master, hospice volunteer, and professional development presenter. She has over 40 years of experience in higher ed. in global quality assurance, accreditation, and compliance.

Volunteers Are The Heartbeat of
The HeartWay

Our volunteers generously give their time and resources,
coming alongside us to co-create a world in which life has more depth and meaning — because we embrace and honor the end-of-life process.

“Dr. Deerheart’s love for end-of-life care inspired me to join The HeartWay through the ELP Program. Volunteering there has been immensely rewarding, teaching me to offer profound support during this journey of transformation for individuals and families.

“The heart-centered approach to client care is why I volunteer, attend the Death Cafe, and the ELP training program. I am honored to learn from Dr. Deerheart about how to support the dying and their families during life’s most tender moments.”

“Dr. Deerheart... genuinely puts serving from the heart as the number one priority for herself and the entire organization. I know when I volunteer time at the HeartWay, it will absolutely touch and lift the hearts of others. That makes it worth my time!”

“I am touched and inspired by Andrea and the HeartWay. Embracing others and their families in a loving and compassionate way as they transition is certainly a spiritual gift.”

JULIA HOLMAN

JUDY IANNACCONE

PAMELA LOCKE

BRAD McMAHON

Would you like more information about becoming a volunteer?

JOIN OUR FAMILY

Volunteers
Are The Heartbeat of
The HeartWay

Our volunteers generously give their time and resources,
coming alongside us to co-create a world in which life has more depth and meaning — because we embrace and honor the end-of-life process.

“Dr. Deerheart’s love for end-of-life care inspired me to join The HeartWay through the ELP Program. Volunteering there has been immensely rewarding, teaching me to offer profound support during this journey of transformation for individuals and families.

JULIA HOLMAN

“Dr. Deerheart’s love for end-of-life care inspired me to join The HeartWay through the ELP Program. Volunteering there has been immensely rewarding, teaching me to offer profound support during this journey of transformation for individuals and families.

“The heart-centered approach to client care is why I volunteer, attend the Death Cafe, and the ELP training program. I am honored to learn from Dr. Deerheart about how to support the dying and their families during life’s most tender moments.”

JUDY IANNACCONE

“The heart-centered approach to client care is why I volunteer, attend the Death Cafe, and the ELP training program. I am honored to learn from Dr. Deerheart about how to support the dying and their families during life’s most tender moments.”

“Dr. Deerheart... genuinely puts serving from the heart as the number one priority for herself and the entire organization. I know when I volunteer time at the HeartWay, it will absolutely touch and lift the hearts of others. That makes it worth my time!”

PAMELA LOCKE

“Dr. Deerheart... genuinely puts serving from the heart as the number one priority for herself and the entire organization. I know when I volunteer time at the HeartWay, it will absolutely touch and lift the hearts of others. That makes it worth my time!”

“I am touched and inspired by Andrea and the HeartWay. Embracing others and their families in a loving and compassionate way as they transition is certainly a spiritual gift.”

BRAD McMAHON

“I am touched and inspired by Andrea and the HeartWay. Embracing others and their families in a loving and compassionate way as they transition is certainly a spiritual gift.”

Would you like more information
about becoming a volunteer?

JOIN OUR FAMILY

Our Expert Advisory Committee


Who dedicate their time, resources, heart, and soul.

We are indebted to their presence and generosity.


JUSTINE AMADEO Editor and Writer
NADIA BABAYI Non-profit Consultant
ALESSANDRA COLFI Art Therapist, Healing Grief thru HeArt Therapist
KATHY DUVERNET Non-Profit and Donor Management Consultant
SCOTT & LINDA MAVEL Business Consultants
VIVIAN TIPTON Executive Director of Hospice of the Foothills
DANIEL VICARIO MD Medical Oncologist & Co-founder SD Cancer Center
GINA VUCCI Strategy, Marketing, and Business Development
HEIDI WINGO Education Regulation Consultant and Advisor

DR. PAUL BRENNER
Psychosocial Oncologist at San Diego Cancer Center
In loving memory of his decades of selfless service, providing compassionate,
integrative, and comprehensive support to those facing life-threatening

diseases and death.

Our Expert Advisory Committee


Who dedicate their time, resources, heart, and soul.

We are indebted to their presence and generosity.


JUSTINE AMADEO Editor and Writer

NADIA BABAYI
Non-profit Consultant

ALESSANDRA COLFI
Art Therapist, Healing Grief thru HeArt Therapist

KATHY DUVERNET
Non-Profit and Donor Management Consultant

SCOTT & LINDA MAVEL
Business Consultants

VIVIAN TIPTON
Executive Director of Hospice of the Foothills

DANIEL VICARIO
MD Medical Oncologist & Co-founder SD Cancer Center

GINA VUCCI
Strategy, Marketing, and Business Development

HEIDI WINGO
Education Regulation Consultant and Advisor

DR. PAUL BRENNER
Psychosocial Oncologist at San Diego Cancer Center

In loving memory of his decades of selfless service, providing compassionate,
integrative, and comprehensive support to those facing life-threatening

diseases and death.

Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

We believe that an equitable world is a richer life for us all.
Each day, we actively create, recognize, celebrate,
and value the diversity among us.