Fundraiser Saturday for Baby Keilani at Carson Mall | NevadaAppeal.com
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Fundraiser Saturday for Baby Keilani at Carson Mall

Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service

Becca Freitas couldn’t contain the joy in her voice.

“She smiled at me for the first time,” the 22-year-old said recently. “She was so glad to see me.”

Freitas was talking about her baby daughter, Keilani Rose, born seven weeks early on Aug. 29 with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid inside the skull.

When Keilani was five days old, the 4-pound, 9-ounce baby was flown to Los Angeles in a private jet for surgery to put a shunt in her brain to relieve the buildup of fluid.

On Oct. 23, Keilani, now up to 6 pounds, 12 ounces, underwent a 90-minute procedure in Reno to repair her esophagus.

For a week, Becca and her 23-year-old husband Kyle kept a vigil at Keilani’s bedside in the neonatal intensive care unit at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. They were able to bring their baby home Oct. 30.

She said Keilani still wears newborn-size clothing.

“She’s such a sweet baby. She looks exactly like both of us together. She’s got tons of brown hair and big gray eyes. She’s just a little, tiny girl.”

Freitas said the little family has received immeasurable support from their families, Ed and Cathy Freitas of Indian Hills, and Tena and Gary Yarbrough of Gardnerville.

Kyle and Becca are Douglas High School graduates.

A fundraiser is set for 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Carson Mall, east entrance, to help with medical bills now totaling $500,000. The family also has set up a bank account.

Becca said she and her husband have insurance through their work at Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, but much of the treatment has been out of network which only pays a certain percentage.

The Freitases are encouraged by Keilani’s progress.

“She’s made great progress,” Becca said. “The doctors said she’d never be able to see, you can just tell that she can see. They told me she’d never eat by herself and she does that. A lot of kids have hydrocephalus and have developmental delays and turn out just fine.”