By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
Twelve-year-old Chance Futrell hoisted the massive check above his head as the young residents of Harden House home for girls looked on.
The check for $55 represented months upon months worth of saved pennies. The girls could have given that money to any cause; they chose Chance.
Nearby, his mother Larissa Grissom looked on and smiled. Having watched her son live his life in and out of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital since suffering a gunshot wound in late 2009, it had to lift her heart to see him out having fun and a community so willing to support him.
“It’s been wonderful,” Grissom said of the fundraising race so far. “[We’ve currently raised] around $6,000 and we have a goal of $15,000 to be reached by March 24. So, there’s still a lot of work ahead.”
It’s looking more and more like Fulton native Chance Futrell’s family has a shot at being named Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s family of the year.
Nominated among three other families by the Memphis hospital’s staff, Futrell’s family is currently in the midst of a fundraising frenzy. Whichever of the chosen families raises the most money by mid-March wins the prestigious title, so they’ve employed family and friends to help their cause.
A recent fundraising beauty pageant, held Feb. 12 at the Fulton Grammar School and sponsored by family friends, helped Futrell’s family raise more than $1,400.
“It was great. We had a really good turnout from all areas,” said Angela Gough, who helped with the pageant. She said more than 40 contestants participated in the event from across Northeast Mississippi.
“It was really good to see so many people from so many different areas participating,” Gough said. “It’s was a really great event.”
Another major fundraising event is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, at Fulton Country Club, this time a BBQ supper. There will be entertainment provided by musician Justin Parker. Food will start being served at 5 p.m. with entertainment following at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 each or $30 per couple. To-go plates will be served from 5-7 p.m. for $7 each. Tickets can be purchased at MAG’s Muffler Shop or by calling Grissom at 662-523-8595.
The family is also planning a car show on Saturday, March 19, on the Fulton courtsquare.
Futrell — now a resident of Mooreville — was admitted to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital after suffering an accidental gunshot wound to his leg during a November 2009 hunting trip. At the time, doctors told his family Chance’s likelihood of survival was very slim.
Futrell underwent seemingly countless procedures. He had to have an external fixator for a fracture of his hip, a colostomy, a femoral artery bypass graft, fasciotomies (a limb saving procedure) and so many units of blood that his family lost count. Every few days, he would go back to the operating room for debridements of muscle, bone or tissue and adjustment of wound vacs. He was eventually able to get skin grafts on the larger wounds.
Chance is now a very active 12-year-old boy. He plans to tell his story to young people to educate them about the importance of firearm safety. He also wants to stay involved with Le Bonheur hospital and give back to it any way he can.
Since being admitted to the hospital, Futrell was selected as one of three Grand Marshals for the grand opening parade of Le Bonheur’s new facility this past summer. He also was Le Bonheur’s Miracle Child at the NEMS Championship Rodeo held in Tupelo earlier this month.
Adam Armour can be reached at 862-3141, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his blog at itawamba360.com.