Season 2
Grinnan Family
Grinnan Family
Season 2 | Episode 204 | Aired 10/16/2004

After their infant daughter received a heart transplant to save her from the same condition that their son died of as a newborn, Cathy and Bill Grinnan made a promise that they would do whatever they could to educate others about heart disease. Despite their personal tragedies, the Grinnan family became crusaders for heart disease research and treatment. Now it’s time for someone to give back to them.

Country music recording artist Lee Ann Womack was one of many people who wanted to give something back to the Grinnans. When she heard that the family is big on country music, she surprised them at the “reveal” and presented them with some unique gifts.

Hannah Grinnan was just 11 days old when she underwent organ transplant surgery. After months of touch-and-go circumstances, Hannah was finally released from the hospital and the Grinnans returned home. Shortly thereafter, Hannah began to reject her heart. The only way to save her was to be near a facility that could handle her emergency conditions. Loma Linda University Medical Center had the best heart center for children, so the family made the difficult decision to move to Redlands, California. At the time, their other children—Mary, 22, Bill Jr., 20, Catie, 17, Gabe, 11, Sara, eight, and seven-year-old Clare—had to take on adult responsibilities and care for each other while their parents held vigil in the hospital. No one complained though, since their unselfish help meant having one more day with Hannah.

Today Hannah is a relatively healthy six-year-old who likes to do all the things that a youngster her age should enjoy. But she can’t swim in the family’s pool because the chlorine irritates her skin—it’s affected from the many heart medications she must take, including an anti-rejection medication that makes her susceptible to life-threatening conditions. And inside the house she experiences many other symptoms that irritate her sensitive system. The EMHE team contacted many indoor air-quality professionals and incorporated several ways to improve Hannah’s home environment.

While the design team, contractors and hundreds of workers gave the Grinnans’ three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch home a complete health makeover, as well as a home makeover, the Grinnans went on vacation to the San Bernardo Inn in San Diego.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ABC's media platforms. Learn more.