By Josh Claywell
Ronald McDonald House charities will always be special to Hodgenville magician Aaron Harp and his family.
Five years ago, his daughter Ally, then 5, went to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville for what Harp and his wife Samantha thought was one-day heart surgery to insert a stent. .
Ally was born with a hole in her heart, and her doctors thought a stent would be the best option to fix it, but the hole turned out to be bigger than expected.
âThey figured out about an hour that the hole was the size of a quarter, but it was also more of an oval shape,â Harp said. “The stent they were planning to use was not going to work.”
Because the hole was bigger, Ally had to have open heart surgery the next day.
Harp said it was one of the worst things he had experienced, and it wasn’t him who had experienced it.
âI tell everyone it was the hardest thing I have ever experienced, and I didn’t even have to go through it,â he said. âThe operation went on for hours and they had to come in and stop his heart. I went back and forth all the time. Every nurse that came down that hall, my hands started to sweat and (I started) to think “is there going to be any news?” They were giving us an update every hour and it was scary.
âBut she’s a lot tougher than me; I will always be on the sidelines. She’s a soldier and she’s doing great now. She is in perfect health without any restrictions. If she had the stent, she would have restrictions – so everything happens for a reason. “
To help alleviate some of their costs during his recovery, Harp and his wife stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville.
They had to wait a bit for a room because it was packed, but officials were finally able to get them into what’s called the bone marrow suite.
âWe live in Hodgenville and going back and forth would have been a mess, but Ronald McDonald House has helped us tremendously,â said Harp. âThey made it as special as possible for her, and she still talks about it to this day. Without them, I don’t know what we would have done until then. It was really difficult.â
Because of all that Ronald McDonald House did for his family in 2016, Harp has put on a magic show to benefit the charity over the past few years.
It’s an event he hosts every two years, and this year’s event is scheduled for Friday October 22 and Saturday October 23 at the Historic State Theater in Elizabethtown.
Tickets cost $ 15 for adults and $ 10 for children, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana.
âI’m super grateful (for them), and that’s why we’re doing this show,â Harp said. âI feel like I owe Ronald McDonald House something forever. They didn’t have to let us stay there. They were actually full because they didn’t know we were going to stay, but they let us use what they call the bone marrow suite. They told us in advance that if someone came and needed a bone marrow transplant, we had to leave, and that was fine with us. But luckily there was no problem. They made us come, even though they didn’t have to.
Shows start at 7 p.m. on both nights and doors open at 6 p.m.
Harp said there is no capacity limit for attendance at the theater, which can seat 650 people.
âI just appreciate it. It’s an escape from reality, really. You move away from everything that is going on in the real world. You can go out and make people smile and connect with them so that for an hour and a half you don’t worry about what’s going on outside these walls, âHarp said when asked. wondered why he likes performing. “To me that’s magic in itself.”
For more information call Harp at 270-505-5500, search for Aaron Harp Magic on social media platforms or visit www.thestate270.org.