NICU Alum and Her Friends Raise Cash for Kids

Eleven years ago, Michelle and Josh Keeler held their breath while their newborn daughter, Emma, spent eight days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Last month, Emma and her friends – along with their younger sisters – decided to give back.

Michelle says she knew the kids were planning a series of yard games one day in late June, but was completely surprised at what came next. They emerged from their play area with a plan to host a neighborhood “Fun Fair,” complete with games, live entertainment, and a petting zoo featuring the family dog, Cooper. Their plan was to invite everyone in the neighborhood and raise money to support healthcare services for infants in the NICU – where Emma had been helped so many hears ago.

Once the games were set, they got right to work making flyers and going door-to-door to promote the event. Some neighbors who couldn’t make it donated cash instead.

In the end, Emma and her sister, Riley, as well as Kaitlyn and Jenna DiNardo and neighbor Whitney Smith raised a total of $115 for the NICU.

Arnot Health Foundation Annual Fund Manager Angela May accepted the gift last week from the girls. She talked with them at Arnot Ogden Medical Center about how much gifts like theirs mean to the organization. NICU Unit Director Kimberlee Bliek was also on hand to express thanks on behalf of the organization.

So, will there be a “Fun Fair” version 2.0? The girls say they’re already planning a bigger and better event that will raise even more money next year.

Thanks so much to Emma, Riley, Kaitlyn, Jenna, and Whitney for their selflessness and generosity!

Kids plan

BACK, L to R: Kimberlee Bliek, Arnot Ogden Medical Center NICU Unit Director, Emma Keeler (11), Kaitlyn DiNardo (12), Arnot Health Annual Fund Manager Angela May. FRONT, L to R: Riley Keeler (8) and Jenna DiNardo (9). NOT PICTURED: Whitney Smith (8).