It’s a game known by many names, a few of them rather strange — Corn Toss, Bags, Indiana Horseshoes. But regardless of what you call it, it remains one of the best loved of all backyard contests. It was here in Houston that two families combined their love for friendly bean bag competition with their appreciation for the world-class care at Texas Children’s Hospital and launched the Toss for Texas Children’s event.
More than 350 guests gathered at the beautiful Houston Polo Club for the 2014 Toss for Texas Children’s event on October 16, 2014. Two-person teams rolled up their sleeves and took aim in the special bean bag tournament that benefits Texas Children’s Heart Center. Funds raised supported cardiology, cardiovascular surgery and surgical outcomes.
The event was born out of the extraordinary bond between two families, the Andersons and the Fertittas, whose sons suffered from the same congenital heart defect. But both boys were saved when they received world-class care at Texas Children’s, including operations performed by Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr.
Dr. Fraser, along with Dr. Daniel J. Penny, chief of Pediatric Cardiology, both attended the event as special guest speakers. They praised Toss for Texas Children’s attendees both for their financial support and for their active community involvement.
At the Heart of Friendship
Reagan Farrow and Annette Walter were born three days apart, one in Texas and the other in Tennessee. But both girls were diagnosed with alarming and life-threatening heart conditions at birth. Their mothers, Suzanne and Jen, could not have suspected at the time how their families’ lives would become linked through Texas Children’s Hospital.
Both children were immediately transferred via Kangaroo Crew air ambulance to the Texas Children’s Hospital Texas Medical Center Campus where Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr. performed hours-long operations on both Reagan and Annette, only a few days apart. After surgery, the girls were put in neonatal intensive care rooms next door to each other, and each mother noticed how frightened and worried the other was.
Weeks later, as their daughters were preparing for discharge, Jen and Suzanne exchanged information and began keeping in contact with one another, regularly speaking on the phone and bonding over their shared experiences. After the Walters relocated to Houston, the two families became even closer and have been friends ever since.
Now happy and healthy 11-year-old girls, Reagan and Annette have celebrated all their birthdays together, attended dance camps and traveled to Disney World. As for Jen and Suzanne, what began as conversations about the challenges and experiences of caring for newborns with serious heart conditions have become celebrations of their daughters’ milestones accomplishments and joyful lives.
Philanthropic support for Texas Children’s Heart Center helps make miracles like these possible.