A benefit is being planned for the Rod and Nikki Sinninghe family of Rainy River to help with expenses connected to their newborn baby, Kenna, who hadmajor medical problems when she arrived June 30. It all began when Nikki’s water broke unexpectedly on the night of June 29. She and Rod drove to Fort Frances, but Nikki’s doctor was out of townand the doctor on call didn’t feel comfortable doing a c-section since Nikki was about three weeks early. It was decided to fly her to Thunder Bay, where she gave birth to Kenna Rae Sinninghe the following morning. Unfortunately, the baby was born with a diaphragmatic hernia, a unilateral cleft palate and lip, a malfunctioning heart valve, and a malfunctioning kidney valve—none of which were detected in an ultrasound. Luckily, Kenna did not have a complete hole in her diaphragm, just a weak spot, so her intestines and bowels were not up in her chest cavity, which is what usually happens with this condition. She did have trouble breathing at birth, however, so she was flown from Thunder Bay to London, Ont. to have surgery before she was 24 hours old to repair the weak spot. Her intestines were not completely in their proper place, either, which has been a big problem hindering her ability to eat. The doctors explained it as a lack of a twist or turn that normally would be there. It has caused her to not be able to eat her food as fast as a baby with normal intestines. They started out by giving her 1 cc of food an hour. There are almost 30 cc in an ounce, and most newborns eat two-four ounces every few hours. After many delays and unwanted spit-ups over the last week, Kenna is now up to 17 cc an hour. They are trying to increase her by 1 cc every eight hours of successful feeding. Their goal at this point is to get her up to 21 cc an hour, then they will try 63 cc at one time. Rod and Nikki finally were able to feed her themselves last Wednesday with a special bottle for babies with a cleft lip and palate. Her first surgery for her cleft lip will be performed at around three months of age, depending on her health, and then surgery on her palate at sometime between nine and 18 months. The bad kidney valve will require surgery, but not until around six months of age. She will need to be on antibiotics until the surgery, and possibly afterwards, because she will be much more susceptible to kidney infections. The heart valve will be monitored, but it is expected to correct itself over time. So the Sinninghes are facing another few weeks in the hospital, plus at least three known surgeries in the next year to 18 months. These all will take place in London, which is about an 18-hour drive from Rainy River. Fortunately, all of their doctor expenses and some of their travel expenses are paid by government health insurance. However, they’ve had to take a great deal of time off from work and be away from home and family. Rod and Nikki had to spend the first two weeks of Kenna’s life away from their two-year-old son, Ryder. “It was very hard on all of them,” said family friend Jackie Bossoletti. “The reunion between them was really heart-wrenching.” They have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House in London, which is a wonderful facility. They are able to stay there for $10 a night, and are provided with food, laundry facilities, and Internet and phone access—all of which really help to keep the cost of their stay down. Kenna’s progress can be followed, as well as messages posted, at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kennarae Kenna is still in the Victoria Hospital in London. At this point, they do not anticipate going back to Thunder Bay but things change all the time. The benefit is slated for Friday, August 10 from 5-8 p.m. at the American Legion over in Baudette, Mn. Barbecued beef sandwiches will be served, along with an assortment of sides. A free-will offering will be taken for the food, and there also will be a silent auction featuring items donated by local businesses. Rod is the son of Rudy and Marie Sinninghe of Rainy River while Nikki is the daughter of Terri and Ken Thompson of Williams, Mn. and Brian and Kim McNutt of Dacula, Ga.