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 Kellen’s 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, Kellen’s Big Heart Fund, with the support of the Forrest Spence Fund, was created to provide support to the children and families in the CVICU at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. By meeting the needs of the patients and families of the CVICU through monthly dinners, providing general “fun” pediatric items ( I.V. Pole Pals, Feeding Friends Stickers, crib mobiles, games, toys, etc.), and Kellen’s Capes for Kids we are able to ensure that every hospital stay is an enjoyable one for the patients and families of the CVICU at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.