Happy 1st Birthday!

“Happy 1st Birthday!”

Just like any new mom, those are the words I imagined writing on my son Kellen’s first birthday cake one day. As you may know, I will never have that opportunity as Kellen passed away just shy of turning six months old due to congenital heart disease. You can probably imagine, but every parent dreams of celebrating milestones with their children. First birthday, first day of kindergarten, first summer job, and moving them into their first college dorm. Unfortunately, for the parents of children with congenital heart disease, their “firsts” are not always happy or to be celebrated. Instead, for many of them, their children experience their first open heart surgeries and first prescription refills before age one.

You may not be aware, but 1 in 100 babies are born every year with congenital heart disease. This means that your neighbors, friends, or even family members may have experienced these heartbreaking “firsts.” As difficult as it is to not be able to celebrate Kellen’s first birthday or attend his first day of kindergarten, I am proud that in his memory we can all celebrate a very special first together. The month of November is the first birthday of the Big Heart Fund! That’s right, your support has allowed us to officially be a federally recognized 501©3 serving patients and families of the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital for an entire year!

Some of the memories you have created in just the last year have impacted hundreds of individuals and families through your support of the mission of the Big Heart Fund. Together, we have provided social, physical, and financial support by providing over 400 meals, purchasing over $4,000 in toys and developmental items for children recovering from heart surgery, delivering personalized superhero capes to heart transplant recipients, assisting families traveling between the hospital, home, and work with gas cards, and establishing a parent support group for the hundreds of families affected by congenital heart disease throughout the Mid-South!

Your support helped us have an incredible first year; however, just like a baby learning to walk, we need your support today to help us continue to reach our milestones. Help us have the best first birthday ever by donating at (www.bigheartfund.org/donate) to lend a hand in making sure that kids don’t have to stop being kids just because they are sick, and parents can focus on what is most important--caring for their child.

Make your tax-deductible gift today, to help the Big Heart Fund reach our goal of $6,000. Help us be there to provide hope and support to families as they encounter many firsts, both joyful and sad, so that no family walks this heartbreaking journey alone.

With Heart,

Katrina Dorse

Executive Director

Big Heart Fund