Our Journey


It all started when...

Kellen Austin Dorse was born with what doctors could only describe as a “complex heart” and immediately following birth, he was placed on a Pedi-Flight to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Due to his severe congenital heart disease (CHD), he underwent his first heart surgery in June 2016. What was supposed to be a short, one-week hospital stay began Kellen’s three month journey in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). A Facebook page, Keeping Up with Kellen (now named the Big Heart Fund), was created so that all who loved him could keep with his progress. It reached over 80,000 people in the first six weeks and started the #fightlikekellen movement.

Over time, he endured two open heart surgeries, three cardiac catheters, one joint catheter/surgical operation, and three days on life support (ECMO). Not wanting to leave his bedside, Katrina (Kellen’s mom) was overwhelmed by the many prayers, gifts, and selfless acts that were performed by the Le Bonheur staff and Memphis community on a daily basis just so that their family could continue to support Kellen in every way possible. Despite the best efforts of the Le Bonheur staff, Kellen’s brave fight ended at just five months old on September 16, 2016.

In remembrance of Kellen and all of the CHD superheroes, the Big Heart Fund was created to provide support to the patients and families of the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. By meeting the needs of the patients and families of the Heart Institute through physical, social, and financial support, we are able to ensure that every parent feels empowered to make decisions regarding their child's care and kids don't have to stop being kids. To support our work, please consider giving a donation of any amount or volunteer!