Kara and Forrest Watson, parents of myocarditis victim Banner Watson (2011-2018), held a party for him on what would have been his 12th birthday. It was both a birthday party and a myocarditis fundraiser. With about 120 people in a large backyard setting, they brought together crowds of kids and families– his siblings and cousins, former friends, and even new kids who never knew him– for ziplining, trampoline jumping, yard games, and a dinner buffet.

With the roasted chicken, ice cream cones, and the venue all provided by local sponsors and friends, guests were asked to read the story boards of kids who died of myocarditis, including Banner, and donate to the Myocarditis Foundation. They raised nearly $3,000 in Banner’s memory.

His parents would love most of all to see Banner as a 12-year-old, mingling with his charisma amidst the crowd or slinging down the zipline with his radiant smile. Or raising his brother Brave (whom he never met) up in the air as everyone sings the final word of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Or kissing his mom’s belly as he awaits his newest baby sister. But they are glad Banner is still remembered and celebrated and that some good is coming from grief. His parents wholeheartedly support the work of the MF to bring research, education, and awareness to a world where fewer kids are lost to the sudden onset of this awful condition.


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