Happy Heart Shopping Spree: Marissa The Fierce One

Have you ever met someone and just instantly knew they were an exceptional human? That’s how myself and my Co-Happy Heart Shopping Spree Coordinator Loretta Hodges felt this past Saturday when we had the privilege of meeting our very first Happy Heart Shopping Spree Recipient, Marissa Gootjes.    Marissa at tree

Marissa was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in Fall of 2017. Since than Marissa has been through so much at a time when life is supposed to be all about making memories with her friends and family, playing her beloved hockey and getting through high school. Instead Marissa has been battling the most aggressive form of incurable brain cancer, juggling doctors’ appointments, scans, intense treatments and traveling to and from Halifax to see specialist.

After hearing about everything Marissa has been going through, we immediately knew we wanted to do something special for her. Marissa is our third applicant and the first to choose a Happy Heart Shopping Spree. We took her, her mother Jan and sister Madelyn out for the longest shopping day Marissa ever had! 7 hours of shopping, exploring the malls and a nice dinner. Marissa with us

What really stood out about this amazing 15-year-old was that she showed up with a Christmas list ready to shop not just for herself but for many others. Marissa had put a lot of thought into this. She wanted to get Christmas presents for her parents, both of her sisters, some family and a few of her friends too. She even wanted to make a trip to the pet store to get a gift for her dog and to pick up cat food for the SPCA as she had heard they were in need. Her generosity was absolutely heart warming.

Even after all she’s been through and continues to go through, Marissa still has the most beautiful heart. She has not been hardened by the trauma she has faces. She is strong, generous and fierce; an incredible young lady that we were absolutely delighted to meet and spoil for the day. I know that Braedon would have would have thought this shopping spree was absolutely awesome and his light shined bright as we delivered this Happy Heart Shopping Spree in his memory.

Sending so much love to the Gootjes Family

~Tiffany Agnew                                                                                                                                 The Braedon Foundation Founder & Braedon’s Mom


                   “It was so nice to see Marissa having fun and being a normal teenager…”              Jan Gootjes, Marissa’s Mom

Follow her story on Facebook at Marissa the Fierce One.



Gavin Jones’ Happy Heart Makeover

The Braedon Foundation had a very special weekend!

Meet the Jones family; Gavin, Berlin, Amanda and Jason. We had the pleasure of meeting family picthem in person this past Saturday. Little Gavin has Juvenile Dermatomyositis, a rare life-threatening autoimmune disorder affecting 1 in 4 million that has no cure. At just 4 years of age; Gavin has been through more than what most of us will go through in a lifetime. After several misdiagnoses Gavin was finally diagnosed in September of 2017. Since than he has had life threatening complications and defied the odds after surviving rare complications during a routine procedure. Gavin is still receiving ongoing treatments at home, at the Saint John Regional Hospital and at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax.

After hearing Gavin’s story, we were eager to create an amazing toy room for him, his sister Berlin and the whole family to enjoy. Our mission is to bring happiness to children in NB who are facing severe, life threatening and or high-risk illness. We just want to bring a little hope to these families and provide kids who have had to face unimaginable health battles just a few moments of happiness and joy.

After over 10 hours of shopping, 2 hours of home prep and 6 more hours of working our magic in just 2 days we had the divine privilege of delivering another Happy Heart Makeover and bringing just a little happiness in to the Jones’ home. Although Gavin was pretty sleepy by the time, we were able to deliver the big reveal his mom, Amanda tells us he was back up at 5:00 am to play in his new room.


This is the second Happy Heart Makeover that we’ve been able to complete since starting the foundation shortly after losing our own sweet boy Braedon on May 16, 2018. I know many of you wonder how we’re doing it, how are we able to move forward through such devastating loss. The truth is it’s incredibly difficult. Some times I cry with every word I type, every event I organize and every plan I make. In the same sense though, as incredibly difficult it is it’s also equally easy. Easy because I know that no matter what I am doing this. Easy because I know there is nothing that will stop me. Easy because I know that it is something that I want to do, have to do and need to do.

I have no doubts that Braedon’s light is shining on in the Jones’ home and that is worth every effort and every tear. Seeing the reactions of the family, knowing we were able to provide them with a little reprieve, seeing their smiles and the joy on their faces and watching look around in awe and with excitement was a truly amazing experience.

Love Tiffany

Braedon’s Mom

This room was completed by Happy Heart Makeover Specialists Tiffany Agnew & Loretta Hodges, James Agnew and our awesome volunteer painter Kevin Eagles from Eagles Painting 

Art area 2Couch areahero wallreading knookShelf area







Happiness heals hearts

The Braedon Foundation was created to honour  a brave young man who was taken from us too early at 18.

Through this foundation, established in his name, we are helping to bring joy to other children who are fighting health battles.

To recommend a child living in NB to receive either a fun shopping spree or a bedroom makeover, please fill in this form.

To help make these joyous moments a reality, consider donating here or get involved.

Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep. –H. Jackson Brown Jr.