Walk To Raise Money For Essentia NICU

By KBJR News 1

October 8, 2011 Updated Oct 8, 2011 at 10:39 PM CDT

Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) -The first ever "No Matter How Small" Walk/Run event was held at the University of Wisconsin - Superior Wellness Center.

Kimberly Kroll, a senior at Superior High School, could have chosen almost anything for her senior project.

Rather than following a more traditional route, however, Kroll was compelled to coordinate a special event-one that brought the public's attention to a topic that, for Kimberly and her family, hit close to home.

Kimberly's twin nephews, Teagan Martin and Lleyton Richard, spent six months in the NICU after being born at just 25 weeks.

"It was a long journey. We're finally getting through it together as a family," said Kroll.

The first ever "No Matter How Small Walk/Run" was held at the University of Wisconsin Superior Marcovich Wellness Center this morning in an effort to raise money and awareness for the Essentia Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The construction will incorporate 18 private patients' rooms for premature babies being cared for every day.

"Babies that are premature and critically ill are very sensitive to noise and light, so if we can create private patient rooms through the remodel of the NICU that will help them," said Sage Johnson with Essentia Health Foundation.

Runners and walkers participating in the event collected gifts to support the remodeling and renovation of Essentia Health's NICU Unit.

"Families can bond with their little ones better, you can imagine a new mom learning to breast feed. This gives her a private setting to do that. So, it's really better for both babies and families," said Johnson.

The Essentia Health Foundation hopes to raise $2.5 million of the more than $3 million needed for renovations.

Currently they are just $400,000 shy of their goal.