Boone’s Buddies Give Back

December 14th, 2023

An email arrived in our inboxes on Thanksgiving Day from a grandmother named Karen who shared, “Our grandson is coming up in a few short weeks to have open heart surgery and we are currently gathering items off your ‘Wish List’ to bring with us.”

Karen’s grandson, Boone, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome during his mom’s 20-week anatomy scan. His parents, Rachael and Brent, live in Charlotte, Iowa and drive 2½ hours to Madison so he can be treated at American Family Children’s Hospital. Boone had his first open heart surgery when he was just five days old and his second surgery at five months old. He spent the first six months of his life in the hospital, but his mom, dad, grandparents, and big sister Valerie were always close by thanks to the Ronald McDonald House.

When Boone was born, Rachael started a group called “Boone’s Buddies” to keep family, friends, and the community updated on his medical status. Over the past four years, this group has mobilized to do all sorts of fundraisers and giving drives in honor of Boone.

Most recently, as Grandma Karen mentioned, Boone’s Buddies directed their annual year-end giving to the Ronald McDonald House which the family has utilized for nearly 100 nights. The family set up donation boxes throughout their community and asked people to fulfill the needs of our RMHC-Madison Wish List. Rachael dropped off Boone’s Buddies donation just before the holiday–over $2,000 worth of Wish List items and monetary donations.

The family—mom, dad, sister Valerie, baby brother Beau and grandparents arrived at the House on December 7 for Boone’s next open-heart surgery, and we are happy to report that this heart warrior is doing very well. The four-year-old – who has an immense love for the alphabet – took to using letters other than “X’s” to cross off boxes after taking his required walks each day.

As we are knee-deep in the season of giving, the Blanchard Family serves as a fitting reminder of selflessness during the Holiday season. Even amidst their own adversity, this family has chosen to give back to others.

Rachael Blanchard with Boone’s Buddies donation

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