Have a Heart for Brayden


BraydenAdmit it, you’ve been there. It’s hard to go a week without getting an email hearing about an event going on in this town to raise money for charity. In addition to the big events every year like the ever popular Kiss-a-Pig campaign to benefit the American Diabetes Association, there’s Susan G. Komen and LDDS. That’s just three. Three big ones that take up a good bit of the year round calendar in the Coastal Empire, but those are hardly the only ones that get a good bit of attention. Let us not forget that CASA started dancing for their cause some years back and now seemingly everyone is dancing to raise money. Doctors, lawyers, painters, electricians, and skywriters are all shaking their groove things for charity. Well, it feels like that anyway. They are doing it year after year for a reason. This community is supporting them. People are willing to do the work to put the event together and donors are willing to turn out to support. If they weren’t raising money, frankly, they wouldn’t exist. More and more and more, we sip wine for a cause at Savannah Wine Cellar or nibble on goodies at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. You could fill 90% of your year with charitable events. All of that said, never in my life have I seen a community rally behind charitable causes like this area does. Never.

Just over a year ago, Mikaela and Peter Marra went in for a routine check up at the doctor, at which point Mikaela was told she was pregnant. A follow up visit a time later revealed their child had a serious heart defect that would need to be corrected by surgery shortly after birth. Their baby had to be delivered in Atlanta in order for the child to immediately be transferred to a Children’s hospital on campus at Emory University. On November 13th of last year Brayden Marra was born in Atlanta. One heart surgery and two weeks later, she was brought home to Savannah. The surgeries were not done. Not by a long shot. Several others have been performed since then and there are plans for still more as Brayden grows stronger. The most recent was July 15th. The cost of all of this is becoming overwhelming. This is where these two story lines come together.

I was asked to help get the word out on an event coming up aimed at raising money for Brayden’s family and the mounting medical bills they are facing. Once I read the email, I realized this was no small endeavor. The list of people and places on board to raise money was rather impressive. My first thought, frankly, when I saw the list was: “Amazing how well this town rallies.” Chef Nick Mueller, John Nichols with Crystal Beer Parlor, Paul Kennedy Catering, Cynthia Creighton Jones with Cape Creations, Starland Dining Group. These are all some of the top names in the catering business in this city. They may deny it, but I’m sure they have quite a bit of business on their plates. In another case, like Mr. Nichols, he runs one of the most popular restaurants in Savannah. Each and every one of them could have said no and it would have been understandable. No question. But they didn’t. Because this town rallies.

The venue –Bryson Hall on Chippewa Square is among the most picturesque settings in the city. The entertainment features Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson with the Equinox Qunitet, Trae Gurley, as well as Velvet Caravan. Not to be forgotten is Paul Ganem at Johnnie Ganem’s Package and Wine Shop. Everyone is turning out for this. It’s a who’s who of hospitality, really, and you get to benefit from it. How so? Well, the food is going to be darn good.

I have no reason to believe these chefs aren’t going to turn out something great. Nick Mueller is widely regarded as the best in the area. Paul Kennedy Catering alone may be responsible for feeding half the married couples in town. This will be a great event. As my good friend Frank Sulkowski likes to say “Go big or Go home.” That’s my challenge to the chefs, to those of you who may show up and pay $50 for a ticket, or to those of you who eat out once a month at different restaurants around town. Take a break this time and please come support Brayden and her family. What am I talking about? I know a good bit of you will. Because this town rallies. I hope to see you there.

Event Details:
When: Thursday, Aug. 21st, 2014, 5:30-9:30pm
Where: Bryson Hall, 5 East Perry Street just off Chippewa Square
Click here to purchase tickets.

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