By Meg Grierson
SPRINGVILLE — Funfinity toy store, located at 164 South Main Street in Springville, has joined the fight to raise funds for local high school student, Mihkenna Merrill (16). All proceeds from their sales on Saturday, December 23rd — one of the busiest and most profitable days of the store’s calendar year — will be applied toward the $40,000 of medical expenses Mihkenna’s single-mother family has incurred in the fight to save her life.
Over a year ago, Mihkenna lost the ability to retain food or fluids orally and was forced to survive on intravenous nutrition through a PICC line in her chest. She endured months of abdominal pain, vomiting, failed medical treatments, excessive weight loss, and missed school before a doctor finally diagnosed her with two rare digestive disorders — median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) and superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS). When her small intestine and liver began to fail, she was flown to California for a life-saving surgery uncovered by her health insurance.
“When we heard the story about Mihkenna and her health issues, we wanted to help her and her family,” explains Funfinity owner, Ruth Morrison. “Our family has been blessed through the years by the success of our toy store, and that success is because of the support of our community. The last day Funfinity is open before Christmas is always a big day for us. As our family talked about how we could help Mihkenna, we decided that donating the profits from Saturday would be a great way to share the Christmas Spirit of giving.”
The December 23rd event, which lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., presented last-minute shoppers the opportunity to purchase the final items on their lists while simultaneously contributing to Mihkenna’s medical fund. Children from the community volunteered to wave signs, sell homemade Christmas decorations, serve donated hot chocolate and treats, and auction off items provided by Grimm Lock Wands, Warrior’s Way, Avia Salon, K2 Creations and various local businesses. Together Funfinity and the other volunteers earned an undisclosed amount of money, which will be presented to Mihkenna and her family during a banquet on January 6th.
“Christmas is truly about a gift of love,” Morrison explains. “The ultimate gift of love was given long ago, in a way that has been a blessing to us all. Helping Mihkenna in her time of need is a simple, easy gift to give. We hope to be part of our community, sharing the priceless gifts of love, peace, and security with Mihkenna and her family.”
When asked what message she hoped their donation would send to Mihkenna during this trying time, Morrison replied, “Mihkenna, you are loved. You are deeply loved by your family and friends who are there for you every day, sharing your triumphs and sorrows. You are also loved by your community — people who know you from church, from school, or only from your beautiful picture. We all hope to see you healthy and happy.”
To date, other fundraising efforts have raised over $15,000 for Mihkenna’s medical fund, but the Merrills remain almost $25,000 short of meeting their financial commitments. Any individuals or organizations wishing to add to this amount are encouraged to make an online donation at gofundme.com/medical-fund-for-mihkenna.