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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Westlake Ace Hardware surprises Fulton girl

By MICHELLE KEMP/MISSOURIAN READER
December 10, 2012 | 1:38 p.m. CST
Jayla Kemp poses for a photo in her new playground. Kemp is the Children's Miracle Network Champion Child for the state of Missouri, and local Westlake Ace Hardware locations combined efforts to build the structure for her.

Michelle Kemp is the coordinator in mid-Missouri for Children's Miracle Network. She is also the proud mom of Jayla Kemp, the Missouri Children's Miracle Network Champion Child.  

Local Westlake Ace Hardware locations combined efforts to surprise a Fulton girl. Jayla Kemp, 6, is the Children's Miracle Network Champion Child for Missouri. The champion program selects one child from each state and the District of Columbia to serve as ambassador for all children served by Children's Miracle Network hospitals. 

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Jayla was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems, shortly after birth.  She receives extensive medical care through MU Children's Hospital in Columbia. As the state's champion child, Jayla traveled to Washington, D.C., and Orlando in September and has represented the hospital and its patients at a variety of events throughout the year.

Ace Hardware is a national sponsor of the champion program, but the local Westlake stores wanted to do something personal and special for Jayla. Working with the hospital and Jayla's parents, they identified a special project and began work several weeks ago to remove a large tree and move the fence row in the Kemp backyard. Westlake utilized local businesses James Fencing and TLC Lawn Care for these services.

Last Friday, a team of Westlake employees arrived at the Kemp home and spent the day assembling a play structure that they donated to the family. Volunteers included Rex Neil and Steve Moreau from the Columbia locations, Nick Niedergerke and Matt Harder from Fulton, Jeff Kendall and Robert Barnes from Mexico, Randy Miller and Chris Hannold from Jefferson City and Kyle Foulkrod from the corporate office in Kansas City. When Jayla returned from school, she was surprised with the new structure and an unveiling party.

"The Westlake organization is truly remarkable. They have been so kind and generous to do this for our daughter. They have given her something very special and just for her. While it was a gift for Jayla, it has been such a gift to our family to see her so happy and excited ­ running outside to play and be active every day.  We can't thank them enough," said Jayla's mom, Michelle Kemp.  

 This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor is Joy Mayer.