Our Story

DJ’s Hope 4 Hearts was founded in 2012 to honor the memory of its namesake, DJ Merriman. DJ’s heart was damaged by a virus when he was an infant, and from the time he was 17 months old, he was dependent on a pacemaker to keep his heart pumping. DJ was a well-loved young man who tried to make a difference in the lives of others, always helping anyone who was in need. His gestures of kindness could be as simple as a smile, or as grand as raising money for his favorite hospital’s “Radiothon” fundraiser.

In January 2012, 17-year-old DJ passed away in his sleep from cardiomyopathy, also known as an enlarged heart. He took with him the hearts of many, but inspired those of us left behind to make a difference in the lives of others.

Support Us

Please consider supporting us to let the families know they are not forgotten in their toughest hour and to honor the memory of a wonderful and inspirational young man. We welcome generosity in any form: cash, checks, gift cards, event tickets and other donations that people wish to share in support of our hope for help!

DJ’s Hope 4 Hearts has already made a positive impact on the lives of numerous children and their families. We are buoyed and energized to continue to grow our organization by the difference we have made so far. Click the heart below to donate.

Meet DJ

On the Saturday prior to his death, DJ noticed an elderly woman standing in the checkout line in front of him at a Giant Eagle store. The woman didn’t have enough money to pay for her groceries and in a typical generous gesture he provided the lacking funds. “That’s just the way he was”.

When DJ entered his first year of high school at Madison High he endured what many 9th graders endure being teased or picked on being the new kids in the school.  Well when DJ returned in his 1oth grade year he did something many saw as odd, he showed up in school the first week wearing an elmo suit, not understanding his reasoning he was asked by staff what he was doing! his reply ” By wearing this outfit the new kids will not feel out of place and less likely to be picked on.” DJ carried on this tradition the next two years those first weeks of school just so the new kids did not feel out of place, that was just his nature.

Our YouTube channel features videos about DJ’s Hope and DJ’s video’s he created for teen safety such as the click it or ticket campaign, teen distracted driving and other safety video’s to warn teen drivers how easy it is to hurt or get hurt by careless driving. 

Our Gallery

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Our special friends assembling our backpacks