A heartfelt fundraiser in Algonquin, Illinois

When former KinderCare student Danielle turned 1 this past May, her biggest gift was the new heart she received via transplant on May 13.

Danielle is on the road to recovery after receiving a heart transplant.

Danielle is on the road to recovery after receiving a heart transplant.

Danielle’s heart, which suffered no defects at birth, was irreversibly damaged by a virus this past year. Since then, parents Dave and Susan have negotiated new and often frightening territory. A relative close to the family says, “It’s really been an ordeal.”

In Danielle’s honor, KinderCare teamed up with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to raise funds to assist families like Danielle’s.

Danielle’s father Dave says, “Both Susan and I are grateful to our KinderCare center for putting this fundraiser together. The director Kristin and the whole staff have been very supportive with our situation. Also, we believe that this is a good forum to show how important organ donation is, and keeping people aware of how one child can save so many others by the way of organ donation.”

Center director Kristin Duy says, “I sent out flyers to every center in our district and people have been really supportive.”

Danielle was discharged from Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago June 4, and currently is doing great at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. “She is getting her strength back and starting to be her old self again,” says Dave. Danielle’s 3-and-a-half-year-old brother Jack still attends school at the center.

Her parents want to make sure Danielle has a normal, comfortable, and fun childhood, just as any other child would have. Dave puts it this way: “Danielle’s heart transplant will not define her, her personality will.”

The Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser will take place at the Randall Road KinderCare Center in Algonquin, Illinois on Thursday, June 26. 100 percent of the funds will go to COTA. To purchase tickets, call 847-854-8545. To make a donation to COTA in Danielle’s honor, visit http://cotaforteamdanielleb.com/.

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