Bay Ridge family hopes to pay it forward after fundraiser for newborn’s ‘big heart’

January 15, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick
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A Bay Ridge bar acted out of love last weekend as it played host to a fundraiser for a local FDNY family’s son who was born with a rare heart condition.

And now, the Brown family is looking to pay it forward.

On Sat., Jan. 12, staff and patrons of the Kettle Black, 8622 Third Ave., rallied around the Brown family – parents Billy and Lauren, and their son, Michael William, who, now just over two months old, was diagnosed at birth with a rare heart disorder called Critical Aortic Stenosis.

The boy — born Nov. 12 — has already had two heart procedures as well as open heart surgery.

Though there is a light at the tunnel for Michael William and his family — Bay Ridge natives — there is a long road ahead for them all, his father said.

“From here, he’ll need another procedure later on in his life to give him a bigger valve,” Billy said, stressing that his son’s current valve was from a donor, and will not grow with his body.

With no set goal, friends, family and colleagues banded together at the Kettle to help soften the blow of mounting medical bills – something, Billy said, his family is eternally grateful for.

“The event was very successful,” the dad, a firefighter with Engine 276 on Kings Highway, told this paper. “A bunch of my friends own and work there so everybody really took care of us. There was so much support and really a good time was had by all.”

All in all, “the support has been amazing,” Billy added, stressing also that any publicity his story gets from here on out is no longer about raising money. “We just want the community to know that if anybody goes through this situation, we’re here to help them through it. Paying it forward is more important to us than any sort of financial assistance.”

For more information or to make a donation, check out the Brown’s GoFundMe page (aptly called “Mikey’s Big Heart”) at

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