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Former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden helps bring pediatric heart surgeon to Oklahoma

by Gina Mizell Published: February 14, 2014
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When the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center announced Friday that it has expanded its resources — including the introduction of a new pediatric heart surgeon — to provide complex heart care to children, former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden was front and center.

That’s because Weeden has been a driving force behind the initiative, which now allows patients to stay in-state for surgery and care.

Weeden’s passion for the issue stems from his relationship with 7-year-old Gavin Kuykendall, a family friend who needed to travel to San Diego, Calif. for surgery. Weeden and his wife, Melanie, decided to raise awareness and funds to recruit a pediatric heart surgeon to Oklahoma.

Enter Dr. Harold Burkhardt, a cardiothoracic surgeon who comes to OU Medical from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The hospital also added specialists and equipment and renovated its operating room.

The Weedens’ next goal? Raise $1 million for an endowment to be awarded to Burkhardt.

We’ll have more on the backstory of the relationship between Brandon and Gavin in the coming days…



by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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