Coming Together For One Heartbeat in Parker


PARKER, S.D. — Residents of a South Dakota town are showing they’ve got big hearts on Valentine’s Day. They’re hoping to help one of their own.

It’s a regular game night at Parker High School, but a silent auction and the smell of a pork feed fill the hallways

“As soon as word got out about the benefit people started calling what can we do to help,” says Chris Wirt fundraiser organizer.

The town is helping 8th grader Madison Pankratz. She was born with a congenital heart defect and has had seven open heart surgeries.

“Just got a lot of fire in her and a lot of spirit, and that’s what keeps her going. It has from day one when she was born and had this heart problem,” says Linda Pankratz Madison’s Grandma.

The 14 year old has been at a hospital for the last couple months. She wasn’t able to attend the benefit in person, but was Face-timed in greeting nearly 600 supporters.

“Seeing all the friends and family and everybody who has shown up to support her I’m just surprised it’s so many people that came out on such a cold evening. It’s just wonderful,” says Pankratz.

This Valentine’s Day the town of 1000 heart beats and surrounding communities are coming together for one heartbeat.

“Maddie has been fighting so long for her heart, and this makes it extra special that today on Valentine’s Day we can do this for her and show all this love for her,” says Pankratz.

And they’ll keep coming together as Madison awaits a heart transplant.

“She’s going to make it through this. This is going to be great,” says Pankratz.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Pankratz family you can do so at any Rivers Edge Bank or else contact the Parker High School.

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