What’s that saying? “Behind every great man there is a great woman?” Well, if you’re lucky, that works both ways. Caroline and Luke Bryan are proof of that. When she set her mind to something, her husband was behind her 100 percent.
After Caroline’s niece Brett — the daughter of her brother Bo and his wife Ellen — died in early 2017 at just seven months old from complications of Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect (atrioventricular septal defect), Caroline stepped in to help her family start The Brett Boyer Foundation and ultimately, open the barn doors at Brett’s Barn just outside of Nashville.
Caroline has admitted that the Barn is a product of grief. “It’s the kind of pain you feel in every part, every inch, of your whole body. As much as you want the world to just stop turning, it doesn’t. Life goes on,” she says on the foundation’s website, “with or without the ones we love. Unfortunately, our family knows the feelings of grief all too well. We also know that we can choose 2 paths in life. One of bitterness/anger, or one of happiness and hope.
“We choose happiness over hurt. We choose to honor Brett, just as she continues to honor our family every day. We choose to help children, families, and precious animals.” The miniature animal farm is now full of all kinds of animals that children suffering from the same kinds of health issues as Brett can come visit, to brighten their days one pony, pig, goat, llama, mini horse and turkey at a time.
To kick off the next level of Brett’s Barn, the Bryans and Boyers hosted the first annual Red Bird Games to raise awareness and funds for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt on Saturday (Oct. 20). Bryan — along with his country buddies Jason Aldean, Jon Pardi, Little Big Town and the Peach Pickers — entertained guests with music after a day of fishing, archery, rubber-duck races and other farm life shenanigans.
And you can hear their gratitude in their Instagram captions.
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Definitely not your typical charity event, but it’s our style. After a year of planning, the first annual Red Bird Games was a huge success and probably the most fun we have ever had….AND….we raised $2.7 million for the cardiac unit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital!! From fishing with Bill Dance, archery, rubber duck race, “Putting for Purses”, etc…a good time was had by all….especially my husband! Special thank you to @netaporter @nordstrom @jaclynhill for helping me pull off an amazing “Putting for Purses”. Such a cool event! We love you all and thank you for supporting The Brett Boyer Foundation. Our was shining all around us yesterday. We are coming back next year bigger and better! Thank you to @thepeachpickers @jonpardipics @littlebigtown @jasonaldean for having some fun onstage with Luke. @brightforbrett I you! @vumcchildren, you’re amazing! thank you @erin_creighton_ for being the most bad ass event planner.
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#brightforbrett still trying to compose ourselves over here after a very perfect day raising funds for kids with congenital heart disease and Down syndrome… all while celebrating our baby girl! Hearing people say her name and hear her story just fills my heart with so much pride and joy. #nothingdownaboutit #theluckyfew #1in100 #chdawareness
If you couldn’t go to the Red Bird Games, but you still want to donate or buy a Brett’s Barn tank top or tshirt, it’s not too late. According to the foundation, all donations support research to advance treatment options for kids living with congenital heart disease.
That kind of research, they say, could have led to more options for our Brett.
“Our prayer is to give more options to other families so that their children can live a long happy life. Our foundation will also support organizations who are being champions for #theluckyfew spreading the love of down syndrome. We appreciate your support in honor of our daughter.”