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Blanket returned to 12-year-old through community help

Posted at 11:08 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 23:08:30-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Parents know how much kids can get attached to sentimental items, such as blankets and toys. That's why mom Kathy Jo Peltier did everything in her power to return her daughter's blanket back when she lost it at the hospital earlier this week.

12-year-old Riley Jo was born at just 23 weeks and 4 days. A relative made her blanket, "Taggie," when she was a newborn. It's been with her throughout her 133 days in the NICU, countless doctor appointments and procedures, and during smaller moments at home.

The blanket has different textures on it, which has helped Riley Jo with her sensory issues. She is also nonverbal.

"It’s a comfort for her; it’s like her support blanket that she feels comfortable with it," said Kathy Jo.

Riley Jo and her parents were at the hospital for 15 hours on Monday. When they were at home, they realized that Riley Jo was communicating to them that she had lost her "Taggie" blanket.

Kathy Jo called the hospital. No one could help her locate it, so she took to social media on the informed pages to see if anyone had seen it while there.

Nurse Courtney LeClaire, who works as a surgical nurse at Helen Devos Children's Hospital, remembered seeing the brown-and-pink pattern. LeClaire called the hospital and was able to contact a nurse who was able to retrieve from the spot, which wasn't far from the doctor that Riley Jo had visited that day.

LeClaire's parents Marty and Peggy Fahey were making the drive from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven on Thursday evening and surprised Riley Jo with the special delivery.

"Part of it is being grandparents; we know how important some things are to the kids, and we knew how important this was to Riley Jo. So we were happy that we were able to. We were just the delivery people, but we were happy the nurses found it and we were able to return it to her," said Marty Fahey.

The Peltier family says they were overwhelmed with the support from the community and the offers to help find it or make Riley Jo a new one, even though they say a new blanket wouldn't have been the same.

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