"We love you like my St. Louis-native wife likes Tommy Herr and Gooey Butter Cake," said talk show host Jimmy Kimmel via tape.

When Kimmel speaks, people apparently listen.

But our story actually begins at Olive and Oak Restaurant in Webster Groves.

On the menu here are creative American classics. And on the walls, the owner's treasured memories.

"The first six months we were open, I would walk by and kind of put my head down," said co-owner Becky Ortyl. "Otherwise, I'd be in tears, it's so emotional."

That's because goodbyes hurt most when you've barely had time to say hello.

Becky and Greg Ortyl's son Oakes was born with a congenital heart defect.

READ MORE: 2 boys at the heart of popular Webster Groves restaurant

By the time he was three months old, he had three open heart surgeries and a double lung transplant. He may have been little but he came to be known as mighty Oakes.

"I think what we see in this ICU a lot is how incredibly resilient a lot of babies and young children are," said Dr. Tim Welch of St. Louis Children's Hospital. "They are facing insurmountable medical odds and yet they just keep on bouncing back from set back after set back."

But this was not a fair fight. Oakes was just 16 months old when he died.

The hurt might have been too much for some families but the Ortyl's decided to turn their pain into purpose.

They started the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation to support families of children with heart defects.

"We genuinely, organically fell in love with these families and we kind of knew what they were going through," Ortyl said.

"What I've always been very impressed with the Mighty Oakes foundation is that these dollars go directly to families," said Dr. Welch.

Families like Sarah Christman and Paul Nordmann.

Their daughter Jude was born with a congenital heart defect but when things got dark, Becky Ortyl was the light.

"To know that she wants to be around me which represents something that is really hard in her life makes me want to be stronger for people around me and for my daughter too," Christman said.

Sarah and Paul were on hand recently for the Mighty Night Gala. The goal was to raise money for the foundation, but just as important was to raise awareness.  And that's where Jimmy Kimmel comes in.

"Hello there everyone, I'm Jimmy Kimmel," said Kimmel on tape.

"When the video first started and they saw Jimmy Kimmel and they made the connection," said Greg Ortyl, Becky's husband.

Kimmel's son Billy has a congenital heart defect.

"So please give generously and drink a lot and then give some more," Kimmel went on to say. You have too much crap anyway, have you seen your garage?"

That night, the foundation raised nearly half a million dollars.

More money means help for more families. The Ortyl's hope that one day soon, the Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation will be helping families all over the country.

In a huge way, the foundation is keeping Oakes alive. 

"Yeah. That's what its all about," Becky said.

One family healing their broken hearts by mending others.

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