“Hearts of Hope” are displayed at the Roundhouse Depot Brewing Co., 217 W. Chillicothe Ave., Bellefontaine, for the local Little Mended Hearts Chapter. (EXAMINER PHOTO | Mandy Loehr)
Patrons enjoying a night out at the Roundhouse Depot Brewing Co. this month have the special opportunity to support local pediatric heart patients and their families through a fundraiser for a newly forming support group.
The Mended Hearts Top of Ohio Chapter, which has supported adult heart patients and their loved ones now for three decades in the community, is expanding its impact to pediatric patients through the launch of the Little Mended Hearts, as the “Big Hearts/Little Hearts” Chapter, with programming specifically geared for children and teens dealing with a heart condition and their parents.
To celebrate American Heart Month, the Roundhouse Depot Brewing Co. owners Ron and Kathy Troyer are excited to support a “Hearts of Hope” fundraiser for the local Little Mended Hearts.
Patrons who donate $1 or more to the cause throughout February will have their names featured on a heart display inside the establishment, 217 W. Chillicothe Ave., Bellefontaine.
“We always want to help support charities in our community, and when Patty Reames from Mended Hearts brought this idea to our attention to help young heart patients and their families, we were immediately on board,” Mr. Troyer said. “We enjoyed hearing about the new program as well.”
The donations will help to fund several projects to welcome children and their parents to the “Big Hearts/Little Hearts” Chapter, explained Mrs. Reames, OSU Heart and Vascular Center of Bellefontaine practice manager, who also helps to facilitate the Mended Hearts Top of Ohio Chapter.
Some of the welcome items will include stuffed animal teddy bears with hearts sewn on by Mended Hearts members, along with a picture book on heart disease that is geared for children.
The group also wants to assemble hospital bags for families with comfort items to show support during an uncertain time, including items such as a blanket, chapstick, footies, crayons/markers and coloring books, snacks, water bottle and hand sanitizer.
As the “Big Hearts/Little Hearts” Chapter moves forward, the group wants to offer monthly educational programs for children with a collaborative activity at the same meeting time as the Top of Ohio Mended Hearts, which gathers on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6 p.m., on the first floor conference room of the Mary Rutan Health Center, 1134 N. Main St., Bellefontaine. The next meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.
Mrs. Reames noted that the children’s activities will be followed by mentoring time with adult Mended Hearts members, thus the name “Big Hearts/Little Hearts”.
For the Little Mended Hearts, the group has the goals of: empowering children and their parents; listening with an open ear and communicating well; mentoring the children; offering a positive impact; and providing support and education.
The group wants to offer a space for local heart families to connect over their shared experiences and to support each other, both through difficult ordeals and by celebrating successes and milestones for their young heart warriors. It’s also a chance for children and teens to get to know others who can relate with their experiences and the ups and downs of dealing with a heart condition; and to meet adults who have bravely dealt with heart issues as well.
Last summer, the support group also hosted a fundraiser at the 2023 Pineapple Palooza, with rides on Grandpa’s Train.
For more information, Chapter President Bruce Norris can be reached at (937) 919-7213.