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Friday, April 25, 2014

Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation Update

Friends and family, good afternoon and Happy Friday!!  We hope you are all enjoying long overdue spring weather and that your families are happy and healthy.  Becky yelled at me today when she found out that I have been procrastinating on this email update, so I apologize for the tardiness.  You have not heard from me in many, many months.  We had an incredible end of 2013.  In October, my company, PEG Bandwidth, hosted the Inaugural PEG Bandwidth Golf Tournament Benefitting Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation in The Colony, Texas, outside of Dallas, and with an incredible outpouring of generosity and support, we netted over $140,000 for MOHF!!!  It was a perfect day all around with 144 golfers and no humidity.  You can check out pictures and even a video at  Then, less than a month later, we held our Heart Gala in St. Louis, had almost 150 people attend, auctioned off trips, tickets, VIP events and much more and ended up netting over $100,000 for MOHF!!  Just a spectacularly special evening that included the public unveiling of our professionally produced video, which you can see at!how-we-help/cj5p.  Also, early this year, Becky finished as a national runner-up in the Eagle Rare – Rare Life Award,  In spite of tens of thousands of votes online at the Eagle Rare website over the last 8 months or so, another rare life candidate was chosen for the $40,000 award, with Becky having to “settle” for the $4,000 runner-up award.  She, of course, selected Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation to be the recipient of the cash award.  Funding for congenital heart defects continues to be significantly outpaced by other funding efforts in spite of one in every 100 babies being born with a CHD.  This strengthens our passion around our work even more.  So anyway, after those two hugely successful events and exciting award, Becky and I decided to catch our breath and get ready for an all-time highlight that arrived to us in March.


Esme Love Ortyl, a gorgeous, thick-haired baby girl joined our family on March 19th weighing in at 7 lbs. and 7 oz., stretching about 20.5 inches.  She is being spoiled by all of us, especially her big sis, Isla, and, best of all, she is perfectly healthy!  We could not be happier.  Here are a couple pictures of Ez.  Yes, I’m jealous of her hair, so we can get that joke out of the way….



But the reason that I was yelled at today was because I was late in sharing a few of our upcoming events.  It is going to be a slower year on the fundraising side of things this year with little Esme around, but we won’t be slowing down our efforts to help families who have sick babies – that will actually pick up pace.  So here are some fun things to put on your calendar if you’re so inclined, especially the one coming up in 48 hours (yes, see?  I told you I procrastinated!):


1.       Dewey’s Pizza School, Sunday, April 27, 2014, 11am-2pm; Webster Groves, MO.  For those of you in the St. Louis area, if you’re looking for something fun to do this Sunday, here you go.

a.       This is a chance for you and your kids to go “behind the glass” to the kitchen at Dewey’s Pizza where the magic happens.  Learn from the pizza experts how to make a pizza.  You get to make your very own pizza with all your favorite toppings AND THEN enjoy it in the Dewey’s dining room afterwards!

b.      All proceeds go to Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation.

c.       The host is the Webster Groves Dewey’s Pizza at 314-961-1000, so call right now and book your spot at some point between 11am and 2pm this Sunday, April 27th.

d.      The cost is just $25 per person and includes the pizza that you get to prepare and eat.

e.      There are still 20-30 spots open as of this morning so call quick.

f.        Becky, Isla and I have done this and it’s a blast.  We’ll be there again this Sunday morning.

g.       Thank you to Dewey’s who have been a tremendous partner to MOHF the last two and a half years.

2.       2nd Annual PEG Bandwidth Golf Tournament Benefitting Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation, Thursday, October 23, 2014; The Colony, TX.

a.       Same month, same golf course, same foundation…..same fun.  Will be a blast.

b.      If you didn’t go last year, find someone who did and ask about the goodies they got.  Almost every single person told me it was the best goody bag they’ve ever seen from a golf tournament.  This year will be even better.  We want 288 golfers!

3.       3rd Annual Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation 5K, TBD date and location; St. Louis, MO.

a.       Always popular event has grown each year and we expect huge numbers this year – I might even run.  Maybe.  Possibly.  We’ll see.

b.      Last year we had a bounce house, face painting, food trucks, do-it-yourself art events, a visit from Fredbird (the St. Louis Cardinals baseball mascot, for those of you who have not caught baseball religion yet) and much more!  Stay tuned for date information.

4.       Private Concert with Erin Bode, TBD date and location; St. Louis, MO.

a.       The Eghtesady Family, after bidding and winning a private concert with Erin Bode at the Heart Gala, surprised us by donating it back to the foundation!  Their incredible generosity is everyone’s gain!

b.      Becky is planning a private fundraising event in the fall somewhere fun here in St. Louis.  Stay tuned for all the fun details around this event.

5.       World Record Baseball Game Fundraiser, Spring 2015; GCS Ballpark, Sauget, IL.

a.       MOHF has been approached by an organization which plans and executes world record sporting events as a means to raise money for various causes.  This is crazy!

b.      At some point next spring, there will be a baseball (not softball, baseball) game held that will go on, uninterrupted for over 60 hours, probably 70 hours!  The record is 61 straight hours, so we’re going to beat whatever the record is at that time.

c.       We will begin advertising for players to fill out the roster.  The players will get jerseys and hats and be fed like kings throughout the event.  We’ll sell sponsorships and have the players embark on fundraising drives leading up to the event.

d.      It sounds like an insane time.  Becky is telling me I have to play in it and since she is the boss, I have to dig out my spikes I guess.  70 hours?  Really??  Stay tuned for more details and be sure to hit the batting cages this weekend!  I need to start stretching NOW so I don’t pull a hammy.


There is plenty more in the works, but this is a snippet of the year ahead.  We continue to be blessed by incredibly generous friends, family and new friends and even strangers.  All of the help is welcome.  By the way, to date, our “little” foundation has raised over $500,000 since August of 2011.  Remarkable. 


We love you all,


Greg, Becky, Isla P. and Esme Love



Saturday, April 19, 2014

The most exciting news!

We are so excited to share with you, our sweet and oh-so-loved, Esme Love Ortyl. She was born just about 4 weeks ago and is perfect in every way!

Esme (pronounced Ez-may) means "loved", which seemed perfect for this new little daughter of ours.
And she is so very loved! Greg and Isla and myself have all been overwhelmed by this little girl. She has brought the most amazing peace into our house, she has filled our hearts with so much joy and love, it has just been healing to welcome her into our family. Leading up to her birth I would have told you that our family was doing well. We all have our days, we all miss Oakes daily, but to have Esme in our lives, makes me wonder how we were getting along without her before she came. Greg and Isla and I constantly sit around, smile and just gaze at Esme. And when we catch ourselves we just smile at each other. It has been just over four weeks and we all still seem to be a little giddy.

Esme was born March 19, 7 lbs 7oz, 20.5 inches
(And her older siblings had that same head of beautiful hair!)

If these images taken by my amazing friend Heidi Drexler are not sending you over the moon, check out this video that she made for us:

Much love to all of our friends, 
XO, Becky