Pinckneyville Boy Holds Fundraiser for Baby Alivia

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By Evie Allen

PINCKNEYVILLE -- A Pinckneyville boy is showing wisdom and generosity beyond his years.

Nine-year-old Jaden Miller was born with a cleft palate. And when he heard about a local baby with the same deformity, he decided to help the family.

Jaden's Grandmother Paulette Keene is known for her food service trailers at the Du Quoin State Fair. But Friday, she was serving up treats at the Pinckneyville Square. And young Jaden was working the concession, hoping to raise money for a local family.
 
Paulette's Food Service have been serving people corndogs, funnel cakes and lemon shake-ups for around 30 years. And nine year old Miller loves helping Grandma with the family business
 
"I kind of just like grew up in this," he says.
 
Miller was born with cleft palate and has had three surgeries since he was around six months old.
He says he had never met anyone in Pinckneyville like him, until last week. Six month old Alivia Nehrkorn was also born with cleft palate.
 
"Once I heard that there was someone in Pinckneyville that was born like me, I just wanted to know of a way I could help," explains Milller.
 
After talking to his mom Leslie and Grandma, Jaden had a plan you wouldn't expect from a nine year old. Paulette set up one of her famous trailers at the Murphy-Wall State Bank all day Friday.
Every last cent is for Alivia's family.
 
"I am just overwhelmed," says Alivia's grandmother Donita Nehrkorn.
 
Alivia underwent lip and gum surgery last week and is expected to have palate surgery when she's about a year old.
 
"We were just hoping to do the best that we can. Anything that we could to help their expenses," explains Leslie Miller. 
 
Since Jaden has been through the same procedures and has one final surgery to go, he wants to encourage Alivia's family.
 
"It's going to be hard but just fight through it," says Jaden.
 
The fundraiser brought in more than $6,700. A golf tournament is sceduled at the Red Hawk Golf Club on June 28th.
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