Ky. family honoring son’s memory by raising awareness for heart disease

Ky. family honoring son’s memory by raising awareness for congenital heart disease
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 10:36 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lexington community gathered on Friday to raise awareness for an important cause, all in memory of a young boy.

“When he wasn’t in the hospital having surgery, he was living life to the fullest,” Finn Collier’s mom, Tricia, said.

Finn’s heart wasn’t functioning the way it should.

“We were totally caught off guard when they told us his heart, you know, on the outside he looked great but on the inside he was broken,” Tricia said.

One in 100 babies are born with congenital heart defect. Finn was born with five of the 18 known heart defects.

“In his seven years and seven months of life, he had five open heart surgeries, coded twice, had bacterial lung infections, blood clots, he dealt with a lot of things,” Tricia said.

A lot of serious issues of which Finn’s parents, Tricia and John Collier, are working to raise awareness.

“We want more people to understand that it really is an issue. It’s something that needs to be addressed. We need more attention on it,” John said.

That’s why the Colliers hold Finn Fest every year around Finn’s birthday. They raise money through donations, a silent auction, and maybe most importantly, through music.

“People would be eating. I’d be playing and no one would be having fun, but Finn. He’d be out there dancing around,” said Rob Unseld, a musician and family friend.

Finn had a passion for lobbying and raising money for the American Heart Association, but he had one other great love.

“Finn loved every genre of music. He really did. He loved Michael Jackson, Michael Bublé, he loved country. He loved everything really. I mean he just loved all music. He knew the words to every song he ever heard,” Tricia said.

That made it an easy yes, for musicians like Dustin Collins and Unseld, to play for Finn Friday night.

“When you hear a story like that, you can’t help but want to come out and play,” Collins said.

Those who knew Finn knew he would’ve loved it.

The American Heart Association also honored Mallory Jones with the Finn Collier Service Award. Jones was diagnosed with a rare heart disease, and at 15 years old, she is now a representative to AHA.