Smith Family Shares Special Game Day Experience with Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen

Dec 9, 2014 | Suzanne Ferguson | @suzannerferguson

On Sunday, November 30th , the Smith family of Minnesota participated in an NFL game day experience unlike any before.

The Smiths were the lucky winners at last month’s second annual Feel the Beat event at Mayo Clinic of football tickets generously donated by Carolina Panthers' tight end, Greg Olsen. They not only had excellent seats for the Carolina vs. Minnesota game, but they also were invited down to the field to meet and take pictures with Greg Olsen.Greg and Ryder 2

Greg and his wife Kara are deeply connected and involved in the HLHS community as their son, TJ, was born with the congenital heart defect. The Olsen family has been active in supporting HLHS programs including starting the HEARTest Yard, an organization helping those with congenital heart diseases.

The Smith family’s son, Ryder, is a 4 1/2 year old who was also born with HLHS. Ryder was diagnosed a day after his birth and has successfully undergone three open heart surgeries.

We hope the Smith family enjoyed their experience at the game, as much as we enjoyed watching.

Thank you again to Greg Olsen for giving the Smith family an incredibly memorable experience! For the full story, visit ABC News.


The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals affected by congenital heart defects including HLHS. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science, to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies.

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the HLHS blog.

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