Family to share story at CHD walk

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By John Whitlock

A family who has made a life of helping and supporting others stricken by congenital heart defects will be among the special guests at the eighth-annual Walk for Awareness of Congenital Heart Defects.
On Feb. 16 from 11 a.m to 5 p.m., God’s Special Little Hearts and the Owen County Homemakers will be hosting the eighth annual Walk for Awareness of Congenital Heart Defects.
Katie Columbia, chairperson of God’s Special Little Hearts, Inc., said she had been following the story of the Mullett family of North Carolina for a long time.
“They have one daughter that was diagnosed as an infant with dilated cardiomyopathy and received a heart transplant.  They also had a teenage son, Austin, who passed away in 2010 from severe rejection of his second transplanted heart,” Columbia said in a statement. “They have written two books and have produced four CDs.”
Columbia made a connection with the family through Duane and Cindy Mullett’s books that focused on their faith and how it served them through the illnesses of their children, Austin and Alisha.
The couple’s book “Big Mountain Bigger God” focuses on lessons learned while trying to answer the questions behind their children’s illnesses.
“I had read their book and it was very inspiring,” Columbia said. “I knew that they travelled a lot so one day I emailed them and asked if they would like to come by (the annual walk) and they agreed.”
The Mullett family travels across the country and has dedicated themselves to helping others by offering support and their own successes.
“They are missionaries and they will testify and share their story,” Columbia said.
The Mulletts will be an addition to events that have continued to grow over the years.
In addition to the food, vendors and inflatables, this year’s event will feature J. Katheryn Photography and a photo booth.
Columbia said organizing such a complex event would be impossible without the efforts of all the volunteers who lend a hand.
“There aren’t too many roadblocks. We always have enough help to make sure everything goes smoothly,”  Columbia said. “Everything we have needed or asked for, people have come forward to help.
Columbia said the ample number of volunteers shows a divine directive.
“This is truly a blessed event and I’m sure that’s why we always have so many people willing to lend their time,” Columbia said.
There will be plenty of uplifting and inspirational music at this year’s event.
“We will also have Bode and Chana McKinley, David Pitt, Connie Hon and the First Baptist Church of Carrollton Praise Band there to perform,” Columbia said. “Vendors will also be available for you to purchase items from.”
If you are interested in forming a team and helping to raise money for the Walk, contact Columbia at 502-514-1305.  All proceeds will go to God’s Special Little Hearts (www.GodsSpecialHearts.org) to help them continue their mission of helping CHD families while their child is hospitalized recovering from open heart surgery or other heart-related illness. All donations are tax-exempt.
For more information, call 502-514-1305, e-mail GodsSpecialHearts@hotmail.com or mail donations to Meg Fitzgerald, treasurer at 1160 Stewart Lane, Sparta, Ky., 41086.