Local family looks to raise money for neonatal center

By Libby John

A little change can go a long way – or at least that is what a local DeKalb family hopes.

The Williams family, led by 6-year-old Diamond Williams, is trying to raise enough money to build a neonatal intensive care unit at Kishwaukee Community Hospital, 626 Bethany Road.

Tiffany, Diamond’s mother, said Diamond became interested in working for a neonatal unit when her little sister, Anani, was born. Anani was sent to a Rockford hospital shortly after birth because she had trouble breathing.

Diamond and her sister, Desiree, went to Kishwaukee Community Hospital the day after their sister was born but were upset to see the baby wasn’t there, Tiffany said. Diamond decided she wanted to do something to keep newborns at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.

Diamond was persistent about finding a way to help people after she didn’t raise a lot of money for the American Heart Association in Jump Rope for the Heart, Tiffany said.

“I was blowing her off at first,” Tiffany said. “I thought her short attention span would help her forget about it.”

When that didn’t work, Tiffany contacted Sharon Emanuelson, community relations director for Kishwaukee Community Hospital, and told her about her daughter’s idea to raise money.

“[Diamond’s] just a little girl with a big heart,” Tiffany said.

Tiffany said no real plans have been made to raise the money. So far, the family is collecting change.

The idea came when Oprah Winfrey presented her Angel Network, a charitable organization that focused on collecting change to raise money for needy causes.

“We want to see how far small change can get,” Tiffany said.

She said no specific goal has been determined. Tiffany has contacted businesses in the DeKalb area and plans to contact people at NIU and fraternities and sororities to see if they are interested in helping.

She considered placing boxes or jars in the entrances of local businesses so people can drop money in, but that can be a security risk, Tiffany said.

If people are interested in donating or helping to raise money, they can contact the family at 2312 Eve Circle East, DeKalb, IL, 60115.