Darnells 'Overwhelmed' by Support
Shane and Tracy Darnell, of Yorkville, thanked those who attended Saturday's fundraiser for their 2-year-old son, who has had several surgeries related to a heart defect.
Two-year-old Hunter Darnell got a day-pass from his medical treatment facility to attend a fundraiser in his family’s honor Saturday at the Kendall County Fairgrounds.
The little blonde boy is just days (or weeks) from being able to go home for outpatient therapy. Hunter Darnell, who was born with a severely underdeveloped ventricle in his heart, suffered a complication this summer during surgery that caused his brain to lose oxygen for a time period, his father, Shane Darnell, said.
His progress is just “the tiniest of steps right now,” his mother, Tracy Darnell, said Saturday during the fundraiser.
“Each day’s a new day, and we just hope for the best,” Tracy Darnell said.
Tracy Darnell said she knew organizers were putting “heart and soul” into the fundraiser, but she still was overwhelmed by the response Saturday. Family and friends flew in from Virginia and Iowa, and the fairgrounds building was crowded for much of the day-long event.
The Helping Hunter fundraiser featured two bands, a chili cookoff, several tables of raffle prizes and silent auction items, and a raffle for a Roush Mustang GT sponsored by Rod Baker Ford. Children’s activities included making cards for Hunter Darnell and face-painting.
Shane Darnell, a teacher who took a leave of absence from coaching wrestling this season, thanked the crowd for their support, acknowledging that many of them had become life-long friends. He saw several nurses and former wrestlers Saturday night.
“When we moved here six years ago, we never dreamed of this happening to us,” Shane Darnell said. “But Hunter did come along and we did have to face these issues. For us to meet so many friends who support us, it’s just amazing.”
Tracy Darnell echoed his sentiments in an interview: She wanted the community to know how thankful they were.
Her son – as far as they know – is done with surgery.
“His heart is perfect, as perfect as a two-ventricle heart can be,” she said. “It’s where they want it to be.”
Editor's note: Donations can be sent to Hunter Heart Fund/Tracy Darnell, 893 North Carly Circle, Yorkville, IL 60560.