After being introduced to the Mended Little Hearts foundation a few months ago, Sue Burgher, president of the Lynbrook Kiwanis, organized an event that touched the hearts of countless children.
A March 10 fundraising event at the Tally-Ho Engine Co. 3, hosted by the Lynbrook Kiwanis, had about 100 people in attendance to raise money for Mended Little Hearts.
With a full table of 10 costing $360 and general admission tickets of $40, the club was able to substantially help the foundation.
“The charity connects people who were born with heart problems,” Kiwanis Vice President Scott Hastings said. “So it’s a community of people with heart defects and their families who can connect with each other, learn from each other, and become resources for each other.”
The partnership between Kiwanis and Mended Little Hearts looks like it will thrive in the future.
“We had a great attendance,” Hastings said. “We had the Lynbrook Mayor there, the Lynbrook village trustees attended, we had members from local clubs, and the Lynbrook High School Key Club was there with a bunch of members. With food donated from local restaurants and a DJ playing music throughout the event.”
Hastings described how Kiwanis has a similar mission as the Mended Little Hearts foundation. “Kiwanis in general is a charity that focuses on children in the community,” he said. “And the Mended Little Hearts foundation is specifically focused on children, so we thought it would be a great cause to fundraise for.”
According to Hastings, the goal of this event was to create community awareness for Mended Little Hearts. “I definitely think we met the goal as we were able to help out the local chapter of Mended Little Hearts,” he said. “If anything, I think we exceeded our goal as we had great attendance and great support from the community.”
Due to the success of this event, Hastings is hoping it turns into an annual tradition. “Because everyone had a great time, this would be a great type of event to have annually,” he said. “It would be great to build up more awareness for the foundation and continue to raise money for them.”
Shannan Pearsall, Lead Coordinator for Mended Little Hearts of Long Island, spoke at the event. “She told us about the organization at the fundraiser,” Hastings said. “She was there with her son Aidan who suffered from several heart complications and still gets treated for them.”
“During the event, Kiwanis President Sue Burgher asked that I share background on Mended Little Hearts and the work that this organization does for families,” Pearsall said. “At its core, Mended Little Hearts provides support, education, advocacy, and awareness with regards to congenital heart defects and the impact that it has not only on the child but the entire family as well. The attendees were kind enough to give their full attention as I shared our own story of having a child diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and the journey that lies ahead not just for our son, Aidan, but for our family, too.”
Pearsall’s son has had three open-heart surgeries and three cardiac cauterizations at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. She was inspiration to start a yearly toy drive to help children like her son receive holiday cheer.
According to MendedHearts.org, “In 2004, Mended Hearts realized that families whose children were born with a congenital heart defect were in need of the peer-to-peer support that Mended Hearts provided and Mended Little Hearts was formed.”
Mended Little Hearts’ mission is to provide hope and support, creating awareness, and “be a strong voice for CHD families everywhere.”
Hastings and Burgher were able to push this mission forward with this fundraiser.
“Being that this Mended Hearts chapter is a local chapter, this event made it even closer to home for us,” Hastings said. He added that he “wasn’t sure what to expect” from this event, but “the fundraiser ended up having a lot of help from community members.”
“Mended Little Hearts and Kiwanis have started a beautiful, collaborative relationship,” Pearsall said. She also said that this night was a night to remember. “The hard work of the Kiwanis members, donations from the community, and attendees all contributed to the success of this event,” Pearsall said.