FOXBOROUGH, MA – With arms stretched to the sky and hearts turned to Boston Children’s Hospital, over a thousand yoga enthusiasts from all over New England stood mat-to-mat inside the Socios Field House at Gillette Stadium. While the mindful ceremony may have shifted from its intended view from the field at Gillette Stadium, the packed field house proved a little rain couldn’t get in the way.
Standing before a room of warriors in pose, mother & founder of Mended Little Hearts of Boston Heidi Kassner shared her family’s journey at Boston Children’s Hospital. As a newborn baby, her son Ari’s condition was very rare: three heart defects, heart failure, and excessive tissue on his mitral valve the family had playfully nicknamed “Sir-flaps-a-lot”. With limited options on the table, the family opted for a life saving open heart surgery with Dr. Sitram Emani, renowned cardiac surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Nothing fully prepares you for sending your newborn baby into heart surgery, or the feeling you have when they place him in your arms right before they wheel him in. John and I both held him, and sobbed.”
Amidst all of the uncertainty and fear, Kassner says she found a coping mechanism to begin her own healing journey. “When I realized I could help others, I began teaching (yoga) and started Mended Little Hearts of Boston.” Standing before the crowd with her husband John, now 9-year-old son Ari and daughter Talia, Heidi and the Kassner Family shared their gratitude for the work of the Every Child Fund.
What’s the vibe: Roll out your mat and enjoy an afternoon of zen in view of Gillette Stadium to support the Every Child Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“Yoga Reaches Out started as one mom’s dream. She had a journey with her own son at Boston Children’s Hospital NICU, and after that journey she really found yoga and she wanted to find a way to give back to the place that had saved her son’s life,” explains Rachel Hunter, Manager of Special Events for the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust.
Now celebrating its 12th year raising both funds and spirits in support of the Every Child Fund to support the Hospital’s area of greatest need, supporters of Yoga Reaches Out have raised over $500,000 this year alone. “”It’s tremendously valued to just have unrestricted revenue that can help us combat any crisis.”
Not so great at yoga, but interested in giving it a try? We’ve got good news: “It can be day one and you’ve never stepped foot on a yoga mat or it can be day 978 and you can be an expert doing handstands,” says Hunter.
Ari’s sister Talia, who had been just 2 years old when Ari was born, says she vividly remembers tossing a coin into the fountain at Boston Children’s when she was a little girl sent a heartfelt message to the audience. “My wish came true thanks to all of you.”
To learn more about or make a donation to the Every Child Fund, visit http://giving.childrenshospital.org/the-every-child-fund/.
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