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Kettering Fourth Grader Raises Funds for Miami Valley Hospital NICU

Kettering 4th Grader
Jack McKelvey and his parents, Tim and Carla, reconnected with Marc Belcastro, DO (left), at the Miami Valley Hospital NICU “Family Night” on Nov. 11. Dr. Belcastro, medical director of the NICU and Newborn Nursery at MVH and clinical professor at Wright State University, cared for Jack during his nine-week stay at MVH.

Jack McKelvey doesn’t remember fighting for his life as a tiny, premature baby. But today, this nine-year-old Kettering resident is giving back to the place that helped him survive the ordeal: Miami Valley Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Jack was born 13 weeks early in 2001, weighing just over two pounds. “He couldn’t breathe or eat on his own, and then a few days into it his bowel perforated,” says Tim McKelvey, Jack’s father. “He had surgery, and afterward doctors weren’t sure he would survive because of problems getting nutrition into his system. But Jack received great care from dedicated doctors and nurses at MVH, and was able to go home after about nine weeks."

Like most premature babies, Jack experienced many developmental delays affecting his motor skills and speech. He received regular home visits through Help Me Grow of Montgomery County, whose staff monitored his development and provided therapy. Today, Jack is a happy, healthy boy who enjoys playing football, baseball and lacrosse.

On Thursday, Nov. 11, Jack returned with his parents to the Miami Valley Hospital NICU for an event that he helped make possible: Family Night. Parents of babies staying in the NICU were invited to come for dinner and create “family notebooks” to chronicle their babies’ progress. The NICU staff planned the event and the law firm of Freund, Freeze and Arnold provided dinner. Materials for the notebooks were purchased with funds Jack raised through his school, St. Albert the Great Elementary in Kettering.

“We had a Spirit Day where kids paid money to wear jeans and spirit clothing to school,” says Jack. “We made almost $400. I felt really good when everybody helped out like that.”

Since January, Jack also has served as the 2010 Ambassador for the Miami Valley March of Dimes. He participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies in April, raising about $4,200 for research. “When Jack was a baby, we received a lot of support from different organizations in our community, including MVH and Help Me Grow,” says his mother, Carla. “We’re grateful for opportunities to support families who are going through the same thing we did.”