The 22nd annual Hearts of Hope Luncheon raised over $370,000 for Bo’s Place. Will Reeve, son of Christopher and Dana Reeve, was flown in town as the guest speaker. Will is currently a reporter at ABC News. The sold-out event was co-chaired by Courtney and Jeremy Brynes, and Claudine and David Hartland, and was held on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at the Royal Sonesta Houston. With over 750 attendees, the room was filled with love and support for the chairs, the honoree, and Bo’s Place.

The funds raised at the 2019 Hearts of Hope Luncheon help ensure that Bo’s Place will be able to provide grief support services and bereavement specific community education and training to more than 5,500 individuals this year. Bo’s Place provides all services at no cost to bereaved families.

With a friendship that has lasted since childhood, Courtney Brynes and Claudine Hartland and their husbands reflected on their unique individual grief journeys and how they supported one another through it all. Luncheon attendees were inspired as the two women reinforced their belief in the mission of Bo’s Place and its important role in creating a community of support for children, families and individuals who have experienced the death of someone they love.

Will Reeve gave the event guests the first-hand story of when his father, Christopher Reeve, was paralyzed after a tragic fall from a horse when Will was just three years old. By the age of thirteen, Will had experienced loss and grief with the death of both his parents, Christopher and Dana Reeve. Will shared how he used these experiences and the lessons and values learned from his parents to forge ahead with resilience, strength and courage. In outlining the journey that has led Will to become a champion for bereaved children, he peppered his remarks with charming and special anecdotes from the times he did have with his parents and the family who adopted him. The crowd was captivated by his sincerity and wit, and left with a greater sense of how we can all support bereaved children.

Will exclaimed, “Hope is what has sustained me … Any moment that you have hope or another option, sweep the other option off the table, choose hope.”

Bo’s Place Board of Directors President, Meredith Chastang, made an appeal to guests for the important funds needed for growth, “It is estimated that 1 in 16 children in Texas will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they reach the age of 18 and that number more than doubles by the age of 25. Right now that’s over 480,000 children in Texas that need access to a place like Bo’s Place.” Bo’s Place Board of Directors and Advisory Board led the day’s fundraising efforts with a matching gift of $15,000. Guests opened their hearts and pocketbooks helping Bo’s Place raise the most dollars on the day of the event in the history of the luncheon, over $50,000, including the match.

Long-time champion of the organization, Kathy O’Neil, was the 22nd recipient of the Robin Bush Award. The Robin Bush Award is named after President George W. Bush and Barbara Bush’s daughter, who died from leukemia at the age of three. Each year the award is given to an individual who has made a marked difference in the lives of children in our community. Upon receiving the award, the crowd was in awe as Kathy shared how her own grief experiences presented daunting challenges in her life.

Lisa Malosky served as emcee and Nina and Edd Hendee provided the invocation for the luncheon.

Bo’s Place exists to enhance the lives of those who have experienced the death of a loved once. Since 1990 Bo’s Place has provided grief support groups and services at no cost to the bereaved. A variety of groups are offered, Family Groups, Adult and Young Adult Groups, School-Based Groups, Pregnancy Loss Groups and Little Friends Groups with many of the offerings available in English or Spanish. The Information and Referral Line at Bo’s Place supports the greater community by providing direct contact with a licensed mental health professional for bereavement specific consultation, information, resources and referrals for services.

Please contact Andrea Sivells, Development Director at 713.942.8339 or by email at andrea@bosplace.org for more information.