Reach Updates

Run For Mercy | Benefit to Support "My Heart Beats for Noah"


Vanguard University is hosting their 6th Annual 5K RUN FOR MERCY during Homecoming. All funds raised go toward an alumni family in need. This year, they are proud to support the Connally family (Niccole ’12, Sean ’08) who are part of the Calvary Church family and whose youngest child has a heart defect.

All proceeds from the 5K run/walk go directly to support the Connally family. Baby Noah was born with congenital heart disease on August 18, 2015. Since then, he has had the Norwood procedure on his heart to make it function using his right ventricle, two ballooning of his heart valves using a catheter, and various other procedures to make his surgery successful.

To see his continued progress you may visit his page on Facebook @PrayforNoah'sHeart or website at myheartbeatsfornoah.com

Join us on September 30th, as we Run and Walk in support of Noah Connally. Noah will need at least one more open heart surgery, and at some point – a heart transplant.

Where: Vanguard University Campus
When: Saturday, September 30 at 9:00 AM

Join us at the run and register at:




Read on for the story of the Connally family and how you can make a difference.

On Thursday morning, September 10, 2015, Niccole Connally spent several hours with her baby son Noah, at Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC). She had gone home to do a few errands and to connect with her four daughters, but called again at 10 AM to check with the NICU to see how he was doing. The nurse gently said, “I’m sorry Niccole, your husband (Sean) is already on his way to get you. Unfortunately, Noah (3 weeks old) isn’t going to make it through the day.” The next moments were a blur until Sean and Niccole arrived at the hospital.

The nurses quieted the machines making noise, and Sean, Niccole, and family who were able to make it to the hospital, spontaneously began to sing for him and pray over him. “God, he’s yours, and you love him…but if you’ll let him stay, we really want our baby.” Niccole said goodbye and walked to the adjoining room, the agony of seeing him slip away was too much for a mom. She asked that they tell her as soon as Jesus chose to take him home. But slowly, to everyone’s surprise, each of the monitors began to show improvement. The doctor walked in the room where Niccole was waiting to receive the news and said to her, “there is no medical reason why your baby is still fighting for his life. We were watching him go, but now he’s fighting.” 

After three heart surgeries, Noah Connally will celebrate his second birthday on August 18th. Noah Connally has been chosen as Vanguard’s recipient for the 6th Annual 5K Run for Mercy.

Sean and Niccole (Prigmore) Connally’s story began the day they met at Vanguard’s Teacher Credential Program. They did not know it at that time, but they both would also receive their graduate degrees from Vanguard and their story wouldn’t end there. Though the interest wasn’t initially mutual, once Sean finally asked Niccole out, the connection was immediate, and the connection was deep. Only four months later, they were married and discussing their dreams of a large family.

Over the next eight years, four beautiful daughters joined the Connally family – a family dedicated to God, to one another, and to educating others. When Niccole was pregnant with their 5th child – a boy – they went to the 20-week ultrasound, and doctors discovered a “heart condition.” Doctors would discover Noah’s heart was not developing correctly, and diagnosed him with fetal aortal stenosis. Noah would need surgery to prevent a hypoplastic left heart, and medical professionals encouraged Sean and Niccole to consider terminating the pregnancy.

On June 4th, while still in the womb, Noah had his first heart surgery at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, the surgery failed and doctors went from “trying to save his heart,” to “trying to save his life.” Noah was carried to term, and delivered at CHOC, where he was immediately rushed to the NICU. After five days, he was given his second heart surgery, but his body needed an ECHMO machine simply to survive. One week later, he graduated off the ECHMO, with his body ready to fight on its own. One week later, the Connally’s experienced the miracle of him fighting after doctors said there was “no medical reason…” for him to fight for his life. On November 9, 2015, Noah was able to go home. Two open-heart surgeries later, and Noah is still fighting.

Join us on September 30th, as we Run and Walk in support of Noah Connally. Noah will need at least one more open heart surgery, and at some point – a heart transplant. While he is an energetic, outgoing child, the Connally family has some very real health and financial needs. Noah receives all of his food through a g-tube, which means five times-per-day, he is connected to a machine for an hour. He also receives five medicines, five times-per-day. Additionally, there are physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy appointments. Sean and Niccole have each taken side jobs to pay for medication and other needs.

All funds raised from the Run/Walk will go toward helping the Connally family.