Laurel-born man seeks donations to help him get new heart

January 26, 2021

Robert “Little Eagle” Smith, who grew up in Laurel, is a 100 percent Native American husband, father, and grandfather who is always helping others.

Now he needs a little help of his own as he begins the journey toward getting a new heart. He is fundraising with a trusted national nonprofit to help with the overwhelming cost associated with a heart transplant.

At 61 years old, Little Eagle has been living with congestive heart failure for years. He was just 25 when he experienced his first, second and third heart attacks. For the past decade, he has been living with stage 4 heart failure. A left ventricular assistive device has been keeping him alive since October 2019. In 2020 alone, he was admitted to the hospital more than 10 times.

There is hope for Little Eagle if he can get a heart transplant. However, he cannot be listed for transplant until he is financially prepared for the out-of-pocket costs associated with the procedure.

As explained in a TikTok video, his wife Cathy makes just $50 more than the income limit for Medicaid. Potential costs include $600 per month in post-transplant medications alone and 20 percent of the overall cost of the transplant, which can easily top $1 million.

His family is asking for the community’s help to bring this lifesaving option within reach. They have started a verified, secure fundraising campaign with the nonprofit Help Hope Live. To make a tax-deductible donation in aid of Robert Smith, go to

Little Eagle was born in Baltimore and raised on a farm in Laurel. His Native American background is a strong source of pride and passion. Before he moved to Cape May, N.J., in March 2015, he was the chief of the Mid-Atlantic Cherokee of Delaware tribe. He participated in powwows and devoted his time to Native American education, including with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, in Delaware schools, and at the Old Dover Days. He has been married to Cathy for 22 years; they have four children and eight grandchildren.

“Please give him a fighting chance,” said Katrina Delgado, his stepdaughter who is helping with fundraising. “We aren’t ready to lose him.”

All funds raised will be managed by the nonprofit to cover verified medical and related expenses. Help Hope Live verifies medical and financial need for every patient.


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter