Having a sick kid can impact a family's life dramatically, from staying in the hospital for days to paying for medical expenses. The Children's Miracle Network helps out many of those local kids and their families. In fact, many of you have helped the organization's mission through our CMN Telethons and Specials.
And while you may not think your family will ever need that help, you never know when the need will hit close to home.
Brad Janzen and Laura Rhoads are very proud of their two and a half month old son, Robby.
"I think he's going to be a very outgoing little boy," Rhoads said.
Robby is a very active little boy but little he is. Robby was born 15 weeks early, weighing just two pounds.
"You didn't know if something was going to be wrong with him, how developmentally he was going to be later in life. All those things go through your mind," Janzen said.
Rhoads had to have an emergency C-section because she suffered from HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening pregnancy complication.
"I didn't know what would happen. I didn't know if he would live," Rhoads said.
But over the past ten weeks, Robby has managed to double his weight. He now weighs four pounds and is improving almost every day.
"He's doing good on his oxygen. The only thing now is bottle feeding; we have to figure that out," Janzen said.
Robby has gotten special help along the way, including the latest technology and life-saving equipment. Some of it, including a giraffe bed, was available thanks, in part, to the Children's Miracle Network. That's where this story takes an unusual turn.
You see, KELOLAND's Don Jorgensen, who has helped CMN over the past 17 years through telethons and specials, has a special connection to Robby: he's his uncle.
"When I first walked in and saw Robby in the giraffe bed, the first thing I thought was, 'That's a giraffe bed. That's what our CMN dollars paid for.' Then when I looked at him and saw all these wires hooked up to him and fighting to breathe, I thought, 'This is a miracle. It really is a miracle,'" Don Jorgenson said.
"Seeing Don do the CMN telethons for year and years, he has logo shirts and all that, you think about it, you see it. I've never really done anything with it or, sad to say, I never really paid that much attention to it. It definitely has a big impact now though," Janzen said.
"I've been up to the NICU lots of times and I've seen lots of preemies in the NICU. But when you see one of your family members up here, it hits home," Jorgenson said.
It's an impact that has made a difference, not only in Robby's life, but also for hundreds of other kids.
"Thank you, donate definitely, it can make all the difference in the world," Janzen said.
Robby's parents believe they'll be able to bring him home from the hospital before Christmas. They also admit it would be impossible to continue working if they didn't have access to medical care so close to home.