On August 5th, 2002, we were blessed with the birth of our first son, Grant Michael Goughnour. Grant had stunning brown eyes, a full set of dark hair, and weighed a healthy 9 pounds 5 ounces.
Like any proud first-time parents, we were nervous about our newborn baby and the way our lives were changing. We always knew how precious life was but we never considered that we would have to face its fragility with one of our own children.
Although we believed he was a healthy baby boy, Grant was born with an undiagnosed congenital heart defect known as Truncus Arteriosus. Grant and his mom, Holly, both appeared healthy after the delivery, and both checked out of the hospital after the typical 48 hours after Grant’s birth. We all headed home and started our new lives as a family.
Grant was met with a lot of love from family and friends when he arrived home. The first couple of weeks after his birth were filled with joy and excitement as we adjusted to having a baby and looking towards the future. It is funny how one will start to think about and plan for future the milestones a child will experience like high school graduations, marriages, etc.
Suddenly, on August 22nd, seventeen days after Grant’s birth, our world turned upside down. Grant suddenly stopped breathing and passed away in Holly’s arms while we rushed to the hospital. The official cause of death was congestive heart failure due to his condition.
We wish we could say that Grant’s condition was an isolated one, but that is not the case. In fact, 40,000 babies are born with a congenital heart defect each year in the United States. More than 50 percent of all children born with a congenital heart defect will require a least one invasive surgery in their lifetime and twenty percent of these children will not survive past their first year of life!
Although Grant is no longer physically with us, he still guides our hearts and minds to be better people, better parents, and most importantly his spirit inspires us to turn our grief into gratitude.
In August 2007, on the eve of Grant’s fifth birthday, we hosted a fundraising event at Pat O’Brien’s Memphis called Grant’s Gala. This event was developed to celebrate Grant’s life as well as to thank everyone for all of the love and support we had received over the past 5 years since Grant’s passing. Through this initial fundraising event, we raised over $29,000 for The Children’s Heart Foundation (www. childrensheartfoundation.org) to support programs that spread awareness and provide critical funding for congenital heart defect research.
We decided to continue upon our success and held a second event in 2008. The 2008 event was a highly anticipated and attended party held at Central Train Station in Memphis TN. After a fun and exciting evening, Grant’s Gala 2008 raised over $19,000 for congenital heart defect research through The Children’s Heart Foundation.
The third annual Grant’s Gala, held on August 8th 2009, was a tremendous success! Despite tougher economic times, we saw an increase in attendance, and, thanks to the hard work of our Leadership Board and your generosity, we were able to exceed our 2009 fund-raising goal of $15,000 by raising over $24,400 for The Children’s Heart Foundation.
On August 14th, 2010 we held the fourth annual Grant’s Gala. Once again, thanks to all of your amazing generosity, we were able to exceed our fund-raising goal of $20,000 by raising over $23,500 for congenital heart defect research through The Children’s Heart Foundation. We continue to make the investment in saving lives one heart at a time.
Our 2012 event was very successful, and the first event Mike and Holly were able to plan while actually living in Memphis. 250 tickets were sold to the event which lead to a very successful silent auction and an entertaining event. With all of your help and support, we raised over $30,000 for critical congenital heart defect research through The Children’s Heart Foundation.
In 2013, after retooling the event a bit, we experienced some dramatic growth with ticket sales at 375 and total amount raised of over $58,800. The success of this event was a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Leadership Board members.
Building on the success of 2013, our most recent event in 2014 featured a delicious menu from Patrick’s Restaurant Catering, an impressive silent auction, a tremendous turnout, and very generous in-kind and cash donations. All of this combined with the continued support of the Grant’s Gala Leadership Board helped raise over $100,000 for life saving research.
Since Grant’s passing, we have continually been humbled and amazed at the outpouring of love and kindness we have received from family, friends and strangers. This little angel, who was only with us for a short amount of time, has dramatically affected many people. Countless amounts of money and time have been donated to churches, schools, hospitals, and charities across the country in Grant’s memory.
With the help of kindhearted donations from supporters such as you, we will continue to see Grant’s Gala grow into the premier event for raising research funds and increasing congenital heart defects awareness in Memphis Tennessee. We hope you will be able to attend the next Grant’s Gala and thank you in advance for your support.
-Michael and Holly Goughnour
All proceeds of Grant’s Gala go directly to The Children’s Heart Foundation, an organization that funds some of the most promising research for advancing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital heart defects in children. Every Penny we raise goes towards funding congenital heart defect research.