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Family gathers toys in memory of daughter Lilie

Jen and Steve Clark want to honor their late daughter, Lilie -- and they're doing that with Christmas presents.

Lilie died Sept. 3 after a 22-month battle with congenital heart disease and a rare genetic enzyme deficiency.

The conditions had Lilie in and out of the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital and the Children's Hospital in St. Paul. Now, the Clark family is looking to give back.

The family is organizing Project Christmas Lilie, a project aimed at giving each pediatric patient a Christmas gift, Jen said.

"We just wanted to do something to honor Lilie," she said.

The project was inspired by other families that did similar projects while Lilie was in the hospital, Jen said.

"We were at that hospital so much," she said. "We didn't realize how many sick kids there are until we were there with them."

The University of Minnesota Children's Hospital has 100 beds on the pediatric floor, Jen said.

That means she needs at least 100 of each item for her project to succeed.

Most of the patients range from 4 months old to 2 years old; however, the hospital treats youth ranging from 3 months old to teenagers.

Donations will be accepted through Dec. 23, Jen said. That's when the Clark family will make the trip to Minneapolis to deliver the presents.

The hospital helped the Clarks compile the donation list. The biggest and most important items include disposable cameras, stockings and stocking stuffers, Jen said.

Other suggested donations include toys, clothes, stickers, goodies, board games, miniature trees for their hospital rooms, coloring books and Christmas cards. Monetary donations are also welcome and will be used to buy more gifts.

Those who want to donate can drop gifts at the Clark household, New Richmond Middle School, Somerset Elementary School or The Bridge Bible Church in Somerset.

"We just hope this will be big," Jen said. "Really big."

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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