Local college holding fundraiser for baby in need of heart transplant

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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 3, 2019

Courtesy: Autumn Fox's GoFundMe Page

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – In the search for her new heart, baby Autumn Fox captured ours. It was about a month ago that WCTV introduced its viewers to her.

Autumn is a 7-month-old Tallahassee infant who is on life support at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, waiting for a heart transplant.

Her story was one of the most viewed on our website, and hundreds of people reacted to and shared our Facebook post. Now, Autumn's story is the focus of an event this Friday.

"I felt like this would be an opportunity to showcase my cooking skills and do something for the greater good," said Willis Rockwell.

Rockwell is a student at Tallahassee Community College studying Radiologic Technology, but come this Friday, he will be focused on something else. The Thomasville native, who grew up cooking, will be entering his Texas chili recipe into a chili cook-off.

"I think that it will stand a good chance to win," he said.

The event will be part of a family-friendly fundraiser for Autumn and her family. Faculty at TCC's Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education were moved by Autumn's journey, said Heather Redfield, who is a clinical instructor.

"We pulled up the story from WCTV and a couple of us were in tears," she said. "It was very moving, and so we thought then and there, we need to do something for this family."

The faculty at the college got together and decided to seize the opportunity.

"Often we end up seeing patients in the hospital and we see them on their worst days and there's a lot that we wish we could do to help and a lot of times our hands are tied," Redfield said. "We just really wanted to pitch in and see what we could do to help this family."

The event will include a silent auction with all proceeds going to the Fox family, some of whom are hoping to attend.

On Tuesday, Autumn's mother, Nicole, said the little girl had a good day. She wanted to extend her thanks to WCTV's viewers for their prayers and said she wanted to let everyone know that they are working

The Fox Family Fundraiser will be held on Friday, April 5 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Ghazvini Center located at 1528 Surgeons Drive in Tallahassee.

It costs $15 to enter the chili cook-off. To taste-test and judge the chili, it's $5. There will also be a silent auction, an appearance by Tina the Llama and free health screenings by the Student Nurses Association.

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