A Look Back, A Step Forward

In April 2016, Kellen Austin Dorse came into this world and left us all in awe of his strength and resilience while fighting congenital heart defects at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. After a five month battle, mostly in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), we had to say goodbye to the bravest little guy we knew. Along his journey, Kellen's family was touched by the love and care given to them by their community and sought a way to provide that same support to the hundreds of children and families that are served in the CVICU every year.

A year ago, Kellen's Big Heart Fund began raising funds to purchase I.V. Pole Pals and Feeding Friends stickers to provide a little joy for the patients in the CVICU at Le Bonheur. What started out as a small goal of $800 was quickly surpassed and throughout the last year, over $7,200 has been raised to provide support programs for little CHD heroes and their families. To date, Kellen's Big Heart Fund has served over 300 individuals through our monthly CVICU dinners, provided personalized superhero capes to heart transplant recipients through Kellen's Capes for Kids, and purchased needed items like bouncy seats, children's books, and games for patients to have during their hospital stay.

As we enter our second year, we need to grow to meet the expanding needs of the patients and families of the CVICU. With the addition of a heart transplant program, more families are facing longer hospital stays. This means families are now faced with greater emotional, physical, and financial challenges that are often unexpected. We know what it's like as parents to have a child fighting for their lives, and Kellen's Big Heart Fund wants to help make that experience just a little bit easier.

This year, we have set a goal to raise $3,000 by December 31st to provide support to these brave families. With your help, Kellen's Big Heart Fund can provide gas cards to assist families traveling long distance, food vouchers for parents staying at their child's bedside, and items like comfort care bags, room essentials, and even an iPad to help our older patients stay connected to their friends and complete school work even while confined to a hospital bed.

Together, we can help make every hospital stay an enjoyable one for the patients and families of the CVICU at Le Bonheur. Click here to give today.