A woman whose infant son died of heart defects is calling on a thief to show some heart.
Someone shattered a window of Katrina Dorse's Ford Escape parked near Front and Vance Friday night while she worked the 3-11 p.m. shift as host at a Downtown restaurant.
The thief took a carry bag containing a laptop with photos and videos of her late son, Kellen Austin Dorse, as well as fund-raising cards drawn by other children with heart defects.
The 27-year-old University of Memphis grad student is working to earn a master's in social work.
She was upset when she saw her broken window and missing laptop. But the next morning she remembered what was on the computer and the real extent of her loss.
"I realized really just the totality of what they took,'' said Dorse, who earned an undergraduate degree at University of Tennessee at Knoxville. "Yes, my laptop is important. Yes, the car window is going to cost money to replace. But when I realized that there were actually photos and videos of my son there that I don't have anywhere else, it really did hurt me.''
Kellen was born April 1, 2016, with seven heart defects. He died five months later having spent most of his life in the Heart Institute of Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. He was awaiting a heart donation for a transplant when he died.
By a month after his death, Dorse founded Big Heart Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports children in the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur as well as their families. She serves as the executive director.
In addition to the laptop, the stolen bag contained cards with pictures drawn by children with heart defects. The Big Heart Fund planned to use the cards to help raise funds.
Saturday morning, a Good Samaritan found and returned to Dorse one of her bank cards and an ID he found outside an East Memphis nightclub. But the laptop and children's cards were still missing.
She posted an appeal on her Facebook page, describing the importance of the laptop and cards and asking for their return. The posting had been shared about 2,000 times by Sunday afternoon, she said.
Kellen was a fun baby who was not fussy and seemed content being played with and held. But he had what Dorse described as an "infamous'' side-eyed glare he often gave nurses.
She mentioned that look in her Facebook appeal to the thief, stating, "... To further convince you to do the right thing, here is a photo of what my baby side-eyeing you from heaven would look like.''
Dorse asks that whoever has the laptop and cards contact police at (901) 636-3100, and said she would not press charges.
For more information about Big Heart Fund, visit bigheartfund.org.
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