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At birth, Michael Joe Lanari was in life-threatening trouble.
His team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital quickly discovered Michael Joe had two holes in his heart. He needed emergency surgery to repair his tiny heart. The situation was critical. “Arkansas Children’s got him and our family—through that life and death situation,” says Fran. “My husband and I saw firsthand the level of care that included our entire family.” Michael Joe, who has Down syndrome, has had other procedures at Arkansas Children’s Ear, Nose and Throat, Eye Clinic and Dermatology clinics -- all with excellent outcomes.
But the Lanari family’s experience with Arkansas Children’s Hospital didn’t stop with Michael Joe. When the oldest Lanari sibling, Rachael, had a severe grand mal seizure, there was no time to lose. And the Lanaris knew where to take her for immediate emergency care. “She survived two seizures that day, and the doctors confirmed she had epilepsy. The pediatric neurologists at Arkansas Children’s work continually to keep her triggers down—they really keep a vigil over her treatments and evaluations,” says Fran.
The Lanari’s attachment to Arkansas Children’s went beyond treatment for Rachael and Michael Joe’s health issues. “We made a pledge that once Michael Joe’s health was stable to fundraise for Arkansas Children’s,” says Fran. “We knew we had to contribute in some way.”
So, the Lanari’s business, Kitchen and Bath Concepts, launched its Home Expo. Now in its twelfth year, the Expo donates 100% of proceeds from food, vendors and silent auction to Arkansas Children’s. “We plan to keep going with it until we reach a half million…or more,” Fran promises. “We feel that any family who’s going through so much fear about the health of their child shouldn’t have the added stress of paying a hospital bill.”
Rachael and Michael Joe are receiving a level of care at Arkansas Children’s that’s “personal and relatable,” says Fran. “(The doctors and staff) make us feel like they have all day to help us.”
Fran says, “The level of expertise and caring available at Arkansas Children’s gives our children and us so much confidence. Rachael and Michael Joe feel like they can do anything in this world, thanks in large part to Arkansas Children’s.”