Last Saturday, over 300 packed the Darrell K. Royal Ballroom at the Omni Barton Creek Resort for the annual HeartGift Gala, presented by the Schweitzer Family Foundation. HeartGift is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Austin, TX that provides free heart surgery to children from around the world who are born with congenital heart defects.
The event started with a cocktail hour sponsored by Twisted X Brewing and Colorado Gold.
Attendees received a special message from Chrislyn and Sophia Sales, who are currently in Austin from the Philippines. Sophia was born with a heart defect and successfully had her heart surgically repaired on Tuesday, April 25th.
The entire Ryan family were in attendance to celebrate Reese, Alison, Julia and Caroline Ryan who were honored with the organization’s first-ever Mending Heart Hero award. They have committed over a decade of service to supporting the HeartGift mission and growth of the organization, this includes hosting 2-year-old Courtney from Belize in their home during her heart surgery in 2014.
During the awards presentation, the Ryan family were surprised by Courtney and her mother, Trisha, who were secretly flown in for the event to present the family with the award. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room after seeing this reunion.
After the program guests were treated to a singer-songwriter performance by David Lee, Danny Myrick, Megan Linville and Kendell Marvel who have pinned hits like Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s duet “I Need You” and George Strait’s “Twang”.
The organization raised over $360,000, breaking all records from previous events.