Annual fundraiser walk in Stahlstown offers 'little ray of sunshine'
Taking a personal tragedy and turning it into a way to help other families who suddenly find themselves in an unexpected hospital stay situation, the Kellers of Saltlick Township do what they can to help other families with their efforts through the Emma Marie Keller Memorial foundation.
“It's our way to help other families who are going through what we went through,” father Ryan Keller said. “Many times these families go to the hospital and don't expect to stay, and when they do, they find that they aren't prepared.”
The foundation was established a few years ago in memory of the Kellers' infant daughter, Emma, who died when she was only 5 months old from complications due to preeclampsia, a relatively rare pregnancy complication that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period, affecting both the mother and her unborn child.
The foundation is committed to supporting families of children with any long-term illness.
Through their foundation, the Kellers now put together special bags for families who find themselves in the neonatal intensive care units of hospitals, facing what could result in long-term stays.
“The nurses hand out the bags to families who are there, and we know that they are appreciated,” Keller said, adding that they also supply some families with items such as gift cards for gasoline and food, and other ways to make what can be a very tense time a little less stressful.
The bags contain basic toiletries and other items that a family would need when faced with an unexpected stay.
The Kellers have called the supply bags “Little Rays of Sunshine” and have them at the NICUs at five area hospitals — Mercy, West Penn, Children's Home's of Pittsburgh, Magee Women's and Children's Hospital.
The Kellers also arrange to have special holiday treats for the families who find themselves in NICU units during these times, and they also arrange to have hand- and footprints of the infants made as a keepsake for the parents.
“The parents really appreciate the hand- and footprint cards,” Keller said. “It's something that they can take home and hang on to.”
The biggest funding for the foundation is the annual “Walk for Emma Marie,” which is now in its seventh year and will be held Saturday at the Cook Township Community Center in Stahlstown.
“It's really grown over the years,” Keller said of the 3-mile fun walk that is non-competitive.
Keller said that they have added more activities for the children.
“We wanted to make it more of a total family event,” Keller said. “We want it to be a family event for everyone.”
The walk will also include breakfast and lunch, a Chinese auction, a fire truck on site to explore, games and a balloon release in memory of Emma that will take place around noon.
Keller said that the event averages around 100 people, and he hopes to see even more come out and enjoy the day as they raise money for the foundation.
“We see families who come who have experienced preeclampsia or other long-term illnesses,” Keller said. “It's always good to let them know that they have support and somewhere to come if they have questions.”
The walk is open to everyone and all are welcome to particpate.
“We hope is going to be a nice day,” Keller said. “We are praying for good weather and hoping for a great turnout.”
For details about the walk, visit the event website at emkmemorial.blogspot.com.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville Area students’ Mustache Clubs raise thousands for charity, research
- Connellsville fundraiser for girl, 8, adds ‘run at your convenience’ virtual component
- Defense attorney in Connellsville shooting challenges account of officer who resigned while under investigation
- South Connellsville Mayor Casini to stand trial in gun theft
- Mill Run woman sentenced in daughter’s death
- Hempfield man accused of setting Dumpster ablaze in Fayette County
- Mill Run taxidermist honored at North American Taxidermy Championship
- Warrant issued for Hopwood man accused of burglary
- Uniontown songwriter draws big inspiration from Bigfoot for new CD
- Connellsville foundation preserves local theater treasure
- Father-and-son blacksmiths still firing up forge in Farmington