Colby Groom was one of the 40,000 babies born each year with Congenital Heart Disease. He had back to back open heart surgeries at the ages of 8 and 9. While this was a difficult time, it was even more difficult getting back into a normal school and social life after his surgeries. Colby struggled academically, socially and physically. He was teased and cried every night saying that he didn’t want to live because “he was on the bottom rung of the ladder” among his peers.
His family tried to turn Colby’s negative outlook around by getting him involved with the American Heart Association. At the age of 10, he told his first survivor story. Soon after he was arranging events for his school, helping mentor other “heart” kids and raising money for the AHA.
Colby’s father is a winemaker. At age 11, he asked his father if they could make a wine together and donate the proceeds to heart research in the hopes that “no kid would have to go through what he went through.” In 2010 two barrels of wine, totaling 50 cases, were made. The wine, Colby Red, was named after him.
Walgreens heard about Colby’s story and asked if they could sell the wine in their stores to help make an impact. Then, the Today Show had Colby and his family on the show in February 2011. Colby Red is a delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Merlot and Petit Sirah. The Today Show called it “one of the best red wines we have ever tasted.”
Soon after, they partnered with Total Beverage and restaurants like CPK, Flemings, Pappadeauxs, Wildfire and PF Changs started carrying Colby Red.
The initial hope was to raise $500. Today, Colby Red has raised over $1million for heart charities across the USA, Canada and Japan. When possible, the proceeds are donated back to the communities where the wine is sold.
Colby Groom is now 18 years old. He goes to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and is majoring in Political Science. He is a sought after guest speaker at heart charity events across North America telling his story and journey to large crowds. He is also a national spokesperson for the Children’s Heart Foundation. Colby is a proud supporter of Heart’s Delight and will be attending the 18th annual event this May.