Saving children’s hearts becomes a family affair at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital


As Emily Anderson’s 7th birthday approached, her mother, Kelly, asked her what she wanted for her special day. In place of gifts, Emily asked people to bring toys to donate to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Her decision was inspired by her little sister, McKenna, who was born at Mott with a congenital heart defect and underwent open heart surgery at just 3 months old.

"I have enough toys, I want to help other kids like they helped McKenna,” says Emily.

Emily managed to collect four oversized garbage bags full of toys. But she and her family did not stop there. When Mott announced its Saving Children’s Hearts fundraising campaign for National Heart Month in February, the Anderson family knew they wanted to get involved.

“Prior to having McKenna, we didn't realize how common heart defects are, and now we know how truly fortunate we are that hers was a correctible problem,” says Kelly. “Our hope with supporting the Saving Children’s Hearts campaign is that more babies, even those with more complicated problems, can have the same outcome as McKenna.” 

Thanks to friends, family and other supporters of McKenna and Emily, the Anderson family was able to raise over $3,600 for the #LittleVictors at Mott!

“Mott is the most amazing place you never hope to need,” says Kelly. “We are glad to help in any way possible.”

Thanks to dedicated volunteers like the Anderson family, the University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital will receive $32,527 that was matched with an additional $30,000 by the Charpie Family Foundation. Proceeds from the campaign will fuel research and innovation that’s improving outcomes and quality of care for children and adults with congenital heart disease worldwide. Efforts are shaping future breakthroughs, jumpstarting development of novel devices and therapies, and establishing best practices in care.