This picture of our dad, Philippe Forton, celebrating at the finish line of the three-mile heart walk in 2019, offers a glimpse into who he was, and why we are starting this scholarship in his honor and memory.
You see a strong man, so happy to be accomplishing his goal of completing this walk, raising money for the American Heart Association. You see our mom, his wife, right by his side, just as she was when he had his first attack and during the almost-seven years that followed.
What you don’t see is what makes this picture so amazing. During the years after his heart attack our dad experienced quadruple bypass surgery, having an LVAD after the bypass failed, having a heart transplant, having an emergency bypass graft in his leg, and being on dialysis. His days were filled with schedules, medicine, doctors’ appointments, hospital stays, and physical therapy. Throughout the whole journey, he remained passionate, caring, kind, generous, resourceful, and courageous. In the midst of the health challenges, those special qualities were what kept him going. Being a great husband, dad, grandpa, and friend was what he lived for, and was all that mattered.
Seasons have come and gone since our dad left us. Initially, our hearts broke every time we experienced important events with our own children that we wanted to share with Bubba, as they called him-one starting kindergarten, another having surgery, one learning to walk, and a fourth being born. Over time, the emptiness and pain we felt have been replaced with happy memories and the longing to find meaningful ways to honor his life. One way we have decided to do this is to create a Scholarship Fund in his name, to help aspiring nursing students with their educational expenses. During the weeks and months our father spent in the hospital from 2016-2022, it was the nurses who made the biggest impact on him. The compassion and exceptional care he received from many of his nurses motivated him to maintain that fighting spirit which enabled him to get the most out of life.
The Philippe Forton Scholarship Fund will be awarded annually to a high school senior who will be pursuing a career in nursing. It is now our mission to keep his memory alive, for ourselves and our children for years to come. We want our kids to grow up knowing Bubba. We want his memory to live in our hearts forever, and for our children to see the good that his life is bringing to other people.