Dr. Sean Daneshmand, OB/GYN
Performing Tiny Miracles
From the magnificence of Iran’s ancient culture to the modern splendor of the United States, Dr. Sean Daneshmand, an OB/GYN, has been dealt thorns and roses, but has never turned down an opportunity to unconditionally help his neighbor. Born in Louisiana, Dr. Daneshmand returned to his parents’ native country, Iran, at age three due to his grandmother’s ailing health. He spent the next seven years living in the suburbs of northern Iran until the country’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. Due to the political upheaval, Dr. Daneshmand and his family left Iran to begin a new journey abroad. “That part of my life taught me there is no such thing as certainty and to enjoy whatever we have at that moment,” recalls Dr. Daneshmand.
His family relocated to Italy for less then a year, but this “Iranian boy” was not welcomed with open-arms. “Because of the U.S. hostage crisis happening in Iran during that time, I was beaten up almost every day. I guess ‘they’ thought it was my fault,” he says with a laugh. “After all that turmoil, I regressed and went into a shell. Fortunately, my mother put things into perspective for me and brought to my attention that so many others had it worse off than me. I learned to never victimize myself.”
By the time his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Los Angeles, the turbulence had died down. Dr. Daneshmand entered adolescence and was more determined then ever to become a physician. After finishing high school, he enrolled at UCLA and earned his undergraduate degree before attending New York Medical College. He came to San Diego in 1999 to earn his Fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine, a branch of obstetrics focusing on high-risk pregnancies.
As Dr. Daneshmand, Director of Outreach at the San Diego Perinatal Center, diagnosed patients and performed tough surgeries, it dawned on him that he had a greater purpose than just carrying out his duties as a physician. Many of his patients were giving birth to premature babies or babies with heart abnormalities and struggling to cope emotionally and financially. When one of Dr. Daneshmand’s patients approached him in tears because she could not remain with her newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to financial difficulties, the idea for the non-profit foundation Miracle Babies materialized.
But there was another reason preterm labor was close to Dr. Daneshmand’s heart: his daughter, Natalie, who is now a thriving 10-year-old, was born six weeks early. “I know firsthand what it’s like to have a child born early. I can’t think of any other time in one’s life where you need someone to be with you. Life doesn’t stop when you have a premature baby. It’s emotionally draining and it’s a time of crisis. We are here to help,” he says with compassion. Miracle Babies has provided financial assistance to thousands of families with seriously ill newborns. The money provided by the foundation helps to offset transportation and housing costs for the parents so they may remain with their infant in the NICU and provide breast milk.
Although overseeing Miracle Babies and tending to his patients occupies much of his time, Dr. Daneshmand is always available for the two people he cherishes the most: his wife and daughter. “My family humbles me and gives me so much joy. They have made me selfless and taught me unconditional love. Every day, I look forward to going home to be with them.”
Contrary to what some may think, Dr. Daneshmand is not slowing down. In fact, he is embarking on a new chapter in his life in which he will introduce his radio podcast in Spring 2015. This weekly program will shed light on topics relevant to women and children such as healthy pregnancy, prescription drugs and foster care. The podcasts will also present non-profit organizations that are relevant to the subject matter. Dr. Daneshmand’s humanitarian efforts have been widely recognized by various local media. Furthermore, he was honored nationally in 2010 when CNN selected him as “Hero of the Week.”
For Dr. Daneshmand, tirelessly serving others is a privilege that makes life more meaningful. He maintains his humility and admits he has barely scratched the surface. “We are here to experience this life so let’s drop our egos and help our communities. I’m having a great time, but still have so much more to do because I want to see others happy.”
To learn more about Dr. Sean Daneshmand and Miracle Babies, call (858) 633-8540 or visit miraclebabies.org.