LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — This Friday, September 23rd, would have been Finn Collier's 11th birthday. In 2019, Finn passed away at seven years old. He was born with five congenital heart defects.
Finn's mom Tricia Collier, says, "Other than being in the hospital and having surgeries you would have never known he was sick. He was a pretty happy fellow, and he looked great from the outside."
For the fourth year, the Collier family is hosting Finn Fest at the Origin hotel in Lexington. Finn Fest will have live music and silent auctions, including sports memorabilia and baskets from Keeneland and the Breeders' Cup. Finn's mom says he enjoyed both.
"He lived a full life, he loved Keeneland. He loved the horse racing, he loved music he sang every day, every day all day."
The Collier family says that Finn would have enjoyed all of the live music that this event will offer. In the big picture, they want to raise more awareness about congenital heart defects and raise money for other children and their families.
Finn's father John Collier, says, "The biggest thing about Finn Fest is we want to somehow help with the research so other families might not have to deal with or go through what we've been through and what Finn went through. You know, five open heart surgeries, crashing and coding multiple times -- enduring everything that he went through, you know we just want to do as much as we can to help other families not have to go through that."
Singer-song writer Dustin Collins will be headlining this year's Finn fest. He says music is a powerful tool. He says this family's story should inspire others.
He says, "It breaks your heart to hear what happened to their family -- but the way that they are dealing with this is, is just such a positive influence for other people and you know it's hard to say no when someone asks you to be a part of something like that."
These parents have dedicated themselves to raising awareness. Joining Central Kentucky's chapter of Make-A-Wish and the Heart Association. At just 5-year-old was also an ambassador and advocate for CHD. In addition to raising awareness about congenital heart defects, they want the community to know who their son was.
John says, "Yea, his life was special, but it's even...he's still special because he's still touching people."
Now, every year around Finn's birthday, this family and community can remember his life and legacy.