Little Hearts for Life supports heart research

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Corn roast planned Sunday

Times Herald Staff

For the seventh year, Joel and Ginny O’Harrow plan to host a corn roast Sunday to benefit pediatric cardiac research at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

The O’Harrows’ son Gannon was born in 2009 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underformed. After several open heart surgeries, he was listed for a heart transplant, which occurred when he was 14 months old.

The journey put them in touch with Greg and Randi Maloney, who had learned their unborn child had complex heart defects of his own. Trent was born a few days after Gannon went home with his new heart in 2010, and he had open heart surgeries at birth and at 5 months old.

Since 2011 the two families have held an annual corn roast as a way to give back to Children’s Hospital, specifically to help fund research into congenital heart defects. With continued support, the Little Hearts for Life event has been able to raise and donate just over $141,000.

The event is scheduled from 12-6 p.m. Sunday under tents at the O’Harrow property, 8187 Gray Lake Road, west of Oconto Falls. In addition to the corn roast and lot of fun activities for kids, the fundraiser includes bucket and paddle wheel raffles and a huge bake sale.

The top prize is a quarter side of beef with a 7-cubic-foot freezer, donated by A&J Livestock, a $750 value. Other prizes include a $400 crossbow donated by Budget Blinds and a $350 gas grill from United True Value. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Drawings are at 5 p.m., and ticket holders need not be present to win.

More than 10 local families are part of this fundraiser.

The cost of admission includes all-you-can-eat corn, hot dogs, sloppy Joes, baked beans and a drink for $10; $5 for children 4-12, and free for 3 and under.

Twice as many children die each year from congenital heart disease and defects than from all forms of pediatric cancer combined, but funding for childhood cancer research is five times that for cardiac research. Each year more children join the group as heart survivors.