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The race is on to help premature babies
PHOTO PROVIDED Kim Splant and her son, Nathan, 5, are shown at last year's Riding for Babies motorcycle run fundraiser in St. John. The Nathan C. Splant Foundation was established by the family to honor Nathan and help other families touched by prematurity.

Kim Splant wants to help local families and children born prematurely in the greater Northwest Indiana area.

She and her husband, Philip, of Dyer, formed the Nathan C. Splant Foundation in honor of their son, who was born weighing less than two pounds and 12 inches long in January 2004. He spent three-and-a-half months in the neonatal intensive care unit at The Community Hospital in Munster and came home with a heart monitor and on oxygen.

Today, Nathan is 5 and continues with physical and occupational therapy with a positive prognosis.

"There are a lot of families touched by prematurity and they need help," she said. "There needs to be something local to help these families.

"We wanted to give back to the community, so we started our foundation to help families and give to March of Dimes research."

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Saturday will be the fourth annual Racing for Babies fundraiser at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 7 to 13, while children 6 and younger can attend free.

Gates open at 4 p.m. and races start at 7. There will be prizes, raffles and giveaways.

"We could not have completed our mission without the support of track owner Mike Mikuly," she said. "He's let us incorporate our local racing program at Illiana with Sponsor a Lap, minimum $25 donation and Need for Speed campaign, a $50 to $100 donation for the night of the race." The couple is also organizing Riding for Babies, a bike run Sept. 27 that will begin and end at St. John's Pub.

They hope to form a support group soon and are working with The Community Hospital on a donation for its neonatal ward. For more information, visit ncsplantfoundation.org.

To nominate someone for this feature, e-mail slbero@hotmail.com.

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