After their daughter's short 14-month life, Maggie Stewart's parents were determined to do something to help families in similar situations.
Maggie passed away in July 2008 from complications during a procedure to correct a congenital heart defect.
To honor the memory of their daughter, John and Mollie Stewart created the annual We Heart Maggie Golf Tournament, which will take place Sunday at Black Mountain Golf and Country Club in Henderson.
Jim "Red" Donohue, Internet director at Findlay Acura, heard about the tournament in 2009 and Findlay Acura has been a sponsor ever since.
"I was so impressed with what the Stewarts were doing in memory of their daughter and in support of the Children's Heart Foundation of Nevada," Donohue said, "that I was determined to get the dealership behind this year's golf tournament. I knew we could help spread the word and generate more donations for Maggie's cause."
Participation in the golf tournament is already maxed out at 215 golfers, sponsorships and cash donations are always accepted on the event's website at www.WeHeartMaggie.com. All proceeds are donated to Children's Heart Foundation of Nevada.
"At Findlay Acura we believe strongly in giving back to the community we call home," James Cobbs, the dealership's general manager, said. "It's something we learned from the late Pete Findlay and continues to this day under the direction of his son, Cliff. We think the We Heart Maggie Golf Tournament in Henderson is a great event that raises awareness for the children and their families, both so deeply affected by heart problems."
Maggie was born with multiple heart defects. Her father, John Stewart, said they "had an amazing 14 months with little Maggie. Despite all the medications and poking and prodding, to know her, and to see her temperament and personality, you would have never known she suffered from a heart condition. Reflecting on our time with Maggie, it seems as if God knew we would only have a short time with her, so he made the time we did have with her perfect."
In addition to organizing the annual golf tournament, the Stewarts in partnership with Children's Heart Foundation of Nevada have created Maggie's Garden at the Children's Heart Center of Las Vegas. Maggie's Garden is a special room for children diagnosed with heart defects where they can play and select a toy to keep prior to undergoing a hospital procedure.
"It's a place where heart kids will hopefully be able to escape the fear of their pending heart procedure, even if only for a short time," Stewart said.
"We're so flattered and thrilled that Findla Acura has given its support to the We Heart Maggie Golf Tournament," Stewart said. "We raised $50,000 as a result of the 2009 tournament and with Findlay Acura's help, we're looking forward to providing an even larger donation to Children's Heart Foundation of Nevada this year."