Mitchell Needs a Heart transplant

$35,209 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 280 people in 42 months
I am writing this on behave of the Mielnik family.

Mitchell is one of a kind, amazing, goofy, tall (6'2"), loving, funny and lives and breathes hockey! He is loved my so many friends on and off the ice. Everyone who has ever played with him has remained a friend even when teams change. His hockey family is vast mainly because he's a great kid to be around. Same with his school (Hume Fogge) and church family. More importantly Mitchell is the light of his parents eyes and idolized by his younger brother, Carson.

A week ago, Mitchell was on the ice trying out for the Nashville Junior Predators and he made the team . Three days later he was at Vanderbilt Hospital fighting for his life. His heart had been attacked by a virus which looks like saved his life, exposing a birth defect that was otherwise not known. His kidneys and liver were damaged. They have him on a machine (ECMO)that does the work for his heart. For days it has been a wait and see game to give his organs time to regenerate. If you know Tara (mom) she likes to be a bit in control so waiting has been a nightmare. His organs are slowly improving. Mitch will have surgery sometime this week to implant what Tara calls, Ironman, a mechanical cardiac support machine. Once his kidneys and liver have healed and hopefully start working at capacity, Mitchell will be put on the heart transplant list. This is his only hope as the doctors have deemed his heart 100% useless.

As you can imagine, the medical bills are going to be astronomical to say the least. Any donation you are able to make WILL help this family. They have a long, long road ahead of them. Mike, Tara, Mitchell and Carson are so humbled by all the prayers from friends and those they've never met. Please continue to pray for this family and give as you feel called.
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Play for Mitch

November 10, 2015

Last night was one of those amazing nights where our friends have rallied around us, and help us remember that we weren't the only people who had fun with Mitchell, aren't the only people who love Mitchell, and aren't the only people who miss him, terribly. Last night was the Play for Mitch event that many of our hockey friends worked on together to organize: Lisa Cloud, Kevin Doherty, Tim Houston, Mark Horton, Tammy Ribeiro, and countless other people. Storme Warren, DJ for Sirius Radio MC'd, and the bands Sixwire and Emerson Drive played music. Three of the Nashville Predators came out to be there, as did on-air personalities Paul McCann and Stu Grimson and Brent Peterson, and some of the front office staff. Thanks to the generosity of Blue Chair Bay, great cocktails were available (including the newly-famous Jon Anthony, served by bartenders named -- you guessed it -- Jon and Anthony). Just as important as those folks are our friends who joined us, and the many many people who worked together to provide items for the auctions.

And what items there were! A trip to a Kenny Chesney concert (including airfare, hotel, and tickets); a meet and greet with Luke Bryan; Demi Levato concert tickets; tickets to theater and symphony events; two Predators jerseys signed by the whole team; a skating opportunity with Mike Ribeiro and "other Predators to be named later"; other sports memorabilia, including a football signed by Drew Brees; several gift baskets, including wine, pasta, skin care, make-up, spa packages; lovely artwork and jewelry; and more!

It was so wonderful to see all our friends there, but for me, I really enjoyed seeing Mitchell's friends who were there. And I so appreciate every single one of those boys who came over to me to give me a hug. Every one of you makes me smile to think about some funny story I know about each of you and Mitchell! He will always be a part of each of you, and I hope all of you will stay in touch with us.

There were so many good things about last night, but one of the best things is something that can be shared. The video that was put together was just right. It made me cry, of course, but it also made me laugh, and it made me smile to hear how many times his friends would say the things that they would miss most were his smile, or the way he could make them laugh, because that is how I want to remember him, too.

Here's the link to watch the video
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Thank you
By Tara Mielnik — 2 hours ago

Although I've tried to get out "thank you" notes and acknowledgements, I am terrified that I will have missed someone somewhere. Unfortunately, the GoFundMe and Fifth Third Bank accounts did not capture all the names and addresses of people who have donated. I wanted to say "thank you" to all of you, who have followed our journey for the last several weeks. Please understand if you have called, texted, or sent facebook messages that we have not responded to! I have been so blessed to see names in the comments here, or on the GoFundMe site, that I haven't seen in years -- college friends, sorority sisters, high school friends, hockey friends from past seasons, people we worked with "back in the day..." You have all been a part of our family. You have helped us financially, with errands, with childcare, with food, with house and yard work, with fund-raisers. You have laughed with us, cried with us, mourned with us, prayed with us and for us. Every single comment and card has been read, and most of them cried over. We still need your memories of Mitchell, your laughter and your tears, your love and your prayers.

This will be my last CaringBridge post. I haven't yet, but will try to continue to blog/write over at my old blog. Link is

Other links:
The GoFundMe is still active:
(Many, many thanks to Lisa for getting this off the ground to help with medical and funeral expenses.)

#18ForeverStrong T-shirts can be purchased here: https//
(We are so grateful to the Taylor family for this great way to show the world how much we all love Mitchell!)

There is an active MealTrain calendar here:
(Wow! Thanks to everyone who has provided meals for us. Special thanks to Jessica for getting this train moving!)

I am not often at a loss for words (obviously). But the outpouring of love and support, and the so many different ways you have shown it, has been overwhelming. We love and appreciate all of you. Simply -- thank you.
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The Last Day

By Tara Mielnik — Jul 4, 2015 7:41am

Tuesday, June 30, started out with the same anxiousness that we always had on the morning of a big procedure day. Mitchell was scheduled to have the tracheotomy in his room, and I was so thankful that we didn't have to move him for that. We had met with the surgeon the afternoon before and then there was some talk about doing the surgery Monday evening, but they decided to wait until 8 am on Tuesday. 8 am came and went; we had already gone into the waiting room so they could begin getting the ICU room ready, when a different surgeon came to talk to us to tell us he was doing the surgery instead.

Once the surgery got started, we all settled in for a little bit of a wait as we had become accustomed to. Less than 30 minutes later, the surgeon walked back in to the waiting room, and we were all shocked when he said he was finished, that it had gone well, and he did what he needed to do. That seemed like such good news. We didn't get to go see him right then because they were still finishing up after surgery.

It must have been about an hour after that when one of his main doctors came out to find us. We went back to his room, and they said that they had found more blood clots around his heart, and they had to go clean those out immediately. We began prepping for Heart Surgery #5, which did involve another move.

I don't remember how long the surgery took; I don't remember it being very long before they came to tell us they were back. Mike and I went back to M's room, and it was full of people, his main doctor from the ICU, and the two heart surgeons, and a bunch of nurses and other people who had been with us. I knew then that there was bad news. They told us that he had blood clots around his heart, and that one of the VADs had again clotted off, and was not working, and that there was nothing more that could be done.

We were blessed to be able to tell Mitchell how much we love him, and he was blessed to have many of the people he loved the most say their goodbyes. Mike and I were together with Mitchell when his life began, and we were there together when his life here with us ended.

I Thessalonians 4: Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

We weep, we grieve, for our loss. We rejoice that Mitchell is in heaven. Many of those who came to the visitation remarked on how he looks like he is smiling, or even smirking. Mitchell has again had the last word, the last laugh -- he won. He beat us. He got there first. How happy that makes him!
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Thank you

By Tara Mielnik — Jul 2, 2015 7:24am

Thank you to everyone who has expressed their thoughts and love to our family. I'm just trying to put information in one place for everyone here:

Visitation with the family will be held at Tulip Grove Baptist Church on Shute Lane in Old Hickory. Times are Friday, 5-8 pm, Saturday, 11-3 pm, and for one hour prior to the funeral on Sunday, which will begin at 3pm.
We are asking that hockey players wear your team jersey if you are planning on coming to the funeral.

Memorial donations can be made via the GoFundMe page or in Mitchell's name at 5/3 Bank. We hope to set something up in the future perhaps through the Community Foundation of Middle TN. Other options include:
MHC Foundation, 3000 Granny White Pike, Nashville, 37204
Tennessee Historical Society (for TN History Day), 305 Sixth Avenue North, Nashville, 37243
Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, 700 Broadway, Nashville 37203
Or to your favorite hockey, history, or other charity.

Miscellaneous links:


Predators from 2008:

GoFundMe site:

Karissa's tribute:

You Tube video:

Spread love and light, regardless of your differences with one another.
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Read a Previous Update
Jelaine Nodine
42 months ago

We cannot afford to donate monetarily at this time but we sure will keep this family in our prayers. Our son who used to be an avid athlete also became sick with a flu virus which led us to a found congenital heart defect in our son, with the only cure being transplant. Please know we are sending our love and prayers for this family.

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$35,209 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 280 people in 42 months
Created June 8, 2015
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Patty and Stephanie Brown
29 months ago

Thinking of you today and many days.

mary tysdal
37 months ago

praying for your family that your pain is easing with this time, and seeing the love your son had on others. God Bless you all, Mary

37 months ago
Patty and Al Brown
37 months ago

Sending good and supportive thoughts your way. Thank you for all your writing/messages, we appreciate your efforts! - parents of Stephanie Brown @HFA

39 months ago
Jelaine Nodine
42 months ago

We cannot afford to donate monetarily at this time but we sure will keep this family in our prayers. Our son who used to be an avid athlete also became sick with a flu virus which led us to a found congenital heart defect in our son, with the only cure being transplant. Please know we are sending our love and prayers for this family.

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