Boston Pizza’s paper hearts fundraiser has become an annual tradition, but it has a special place in the hearts of the MacPherson family.
Neil, Kyle, and Ewen MacPherson are third generation Boston Pizza franchisees – the first family in history to be able claim this achievement. In 1991, the staff at their parents’ restaurant decided to put on a fundraiser. They cut out paper hearts from construction paper and sold them for $1 each, in support of heart and stroke research, and displayed them on a wall. This small campaign held so much meaning. The staff wanted to show the MacPherson family their love and support, because David and Lisa MacPherson’s second son, Kyle, had just been born with a life-threatening heart condition. He only had half a heart.
You read that right. Kyle was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome – which means the right-sided structures of his heart were not fully formed. He underwent four open-heart surgeries, including one at just a few days old and another when he was just five months old, to ensure that he was able to live a happy, healthy life.
These surgeries were successful, and Kyle grew up with his two brothers, able to do everything they could do. The only noticeable difference were his visits to the hospital over the years.