Hilaryann Gray suffered a rare, sudden form of heart failure for which there was only one recourse: a heart transplant. On Christmas Eve, Gray received a new heart. The Burren in Davis Square will host a concert for her benefit on April 30 at 3 p.m.
It had all the trappings of a feel-good Christmas story.
Last December, Boston-area resident Hilaryann Gray suffered a rare, sudden form of heart failure for which there was only one recourse: a heart transplant. On Christmas Eve, Gray received a new heart, then endured multiple surgeries and two-and-a-half months in an induced coma at Tufts Medical Center. In early spring, Gray was cleared to leave the hospital and return home.
But the epilogue to such uplifting narratives is often full of other struggles. Having survived this ordeal, Gray and her husband, Frankie Moloney, now face staggering costs in medical fees and modifications to their home needed to accommodate Gray’s needs, and to pay for rehab that will enable her to walk again.
Fortunately, Gray and Moloney are part of a supportive circle of friends who have leaped to their aid. Fundraising efforts organized for the couple have begun to chip away at the prohibitive expenses, and a major event is in the works for later this month that will further aid the cause:
The Burren in Davis Square will host a benefit concert for Gray on April 30 at 3 p.m., featuring a ton of musicians, singers, and dancers from the Greater Boston Irish scene, including Burren owners Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello, plus three special guest musicians from Ireland: Liam O’Connor, Padraic MacMathuna, and Sean Og Potts.
The expected line-up (subject to change):
•Matt and Shannon Heaton
•Brid and Katie O’Donnell with Aoife Griffin
•Tommy McCarthy, Louise Costello, Peadar Giles, and Jimmy and Seamus Noonan
•Helena Delaney, Noel Scott, Frank Woulfe, Jeremy Ball, and Regina Delaney
•Kathleen Conneely, Sean Clohessy, John Coyne and Florence Fahy
•Colm Gannon, Joey Abarta, Jackie O’Riley, and Sean Clohessy
•George Keith, Cara Frankowicz, and Martin Langer
•Billy, James, and Roisin Kelly
•John Paul Wick, Joe DeGeorgeo, and Colin Kadis
The event will include raffles, prizes, and a complimentary buffet.
Gray, who is from Ballycastle in Co. Antrim, has a special place in the collective hearts and minds of the Burren, according to McCarthy, as a former employee as well as a caregiver for McCarthy and Costello’s daughter, Rose.
“She’s been a part of our family, and is just a lovely person – very caring and compassionate,” he says. “There was no question of doing everything possible to help her and Frankie. Down through the years, our community has pulled together to help others in need, and we’re hoping that they’ll come through again.”
Gray has already overcome some daunting odds: At any given time as many as 3,500-4,000 people may be waiting for a heart transplant, and more than 25 percent do not live long enough to receive a new heart.
Earlier this month, Gray and Moloney – a native of Ennis, Co. Clare – relayed through a friend that they have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity they’ve received and expressed their gratitude for the support and good wishes.