Therapy just got a little more fun for pediatric rehab patients at RiverView Health thanks to the generosity of Mike and Cindy O’Keefe, owners of McDonald’s Restaurants in Crookston, East Grand Forks, and Grand Forks.

    In 2009, the O’Keefes set up the McDonald’s Children’s Fund through the RiverView Foundation and have been giving ever since to help children with a variety of needs. The Fund pays for the most critical pediatric therapy needs at RiverView’s East Grand Forks and Crookston Rehab Services locations. The O’Keefes have assisted in helping Rehab Services obtain vital equipment for a variety of occupational, speech, and physical therapy programs.

    “It is truly a blessing to have the opportunity to purchase materials to ensure that we provide interventions that are exciting and motivating for our patients,’’ said April Waters, MOTR/L. “The impact the McDonald’s Fund has on our patients is amazing, and the compassion the O’Keefes have on helping those in their community is incredible. I am so glad that I get the opportunity to witness the change their generous donations make, and also have the opportunity to see the smiles on the O’Keefe’s faces when they are able to see how their donations are being used.’’

    According to Waters, funds from the McDonald’s Fund were recently used to purchase materials to work on social skill development, development of self-regulation and emotional skills, and visual perceptual skills. Materials for speech therapy to target phonological awareness and receptive and expressive language were also purchased. Proving that play can be therapeutic, fun items like a kitchen play set and a bubble machine are new items used to improve play skills, fine motor skills and speech/language development.

    “The opportunity to grow and improve our inventory of therapy materials has been such a great joy,’’ shared Carly Hansen, MS, CCC-SLP. “The O'Keefe's are so kind and generous to continue to support our patients. The new materials have been so exciting to not only the therapists, but the kids we work with, as well. The materials are so beneficial to all of our patients ranging in ages 3-22 years old. Our patients have been so eager to use these new tools and keep finding excitement in therapy with the use of these funded materials. Working with Mike and Cindy O'Keefe has been such a pleasure and we are so lucky to have such caring individuals in our community. I am so thankful for their time to come to the clinic and see all of the materials and how they are used.’’

    For more information on RiverView Rehab Services, please call 218-773-1390 in East Grand Forks or 218-281-9462 in Crookston.

    For information on RiverView Foundation programs contact Foundation Director Randy Schoenborn at 218-281-9249 or rschoenborn@riverviewhealth.org.