Hardy Heart is the leader of The OrganWise Guys club and plays a central role in all of The OrganWise Guys materials. Since American Heart Month is winding down, we thought we’d conclude the month by giving you a little behind the scenes look at the history of our beloved Hardy Heart. Dr. Michelle Lombardo (President and co-founder of OWG Inc.) shared the scoop with us …
What’s the Story with Hardy – how did you come up with the concept?
Once we came up with the idea of creating organ characters to help kids and adults understand how the body works and how lifestyle choices affect each organ, the heart was the first organ I thought of. It was easy to pick his name, Hardy Heart, since for a long life, a “hearty” heart is a plus – it was a natural name.
Why did you choose Hardy as the leader of the OWG club?
In my eyes, a person’s heart is the key to everything. Hardy Heart’s personality is one of kindness, leadership, commitment and love … What perfect qualities to have as a leader of a club for kids to encourage them to be the best that they can be!
A little known secret of the OWG is that a mascot-sized Hardy lives at the OWG warehouse. How did he come about?
At one point, while we were working exclusively in Georgia, we were asked to have Hardy Heart participate in the Special Olympics Kick-off. We worked with a mascot maker to build a giant Hardy and he is HUGE! Most folks do not realize how hot it can get inside a mascot – in August, in Georgia, it’s unbearable! Thank goodness our team was up for the cause and a lot of “olympians” were able to get a good luck hug from Hardy in preparation for their events. We now house Hardy at the warehouse and he comes out for very special events.
Hardy Heart was your first plush organ. How did that impact the rest of the organs?
After we saw how much children (and even adults) responded to a plush Hardy Heart, we decided to create plush OrganWise Guys characters as part of the program. Now Hardy and the rest of his pals are in schools all over America reminding students to “be healthy and smart from the inside out!” (Note: Below is the evolution of Hardy in plush form!)
You can get your very own plush Hardy here!