HOWARD, Wisc., (WFRV) – It was just about a year ago when hearts melted to hear how Micki Klein turned tragedy into charity.
“Riah’s Rainbow” is the non-profit she formed more than a decade ago in memory of her daughter, Riah, who was lost to an aggressive brain tumor at age three.
When Local Five recently checked in with Micki at her Howard home, signs of Riah and her legacy were everywhere.
Just months after being on Local 5 News, the annual “Ride for Riah” doubled donations at more than $10,000.
“Soon after that, I got donations and phone calls,” explains Klein. “More exposure on the website and I think that lead to the most donations we’ve ever had on August 1st. I felt the love for sure. I felt the support. It was great.
From its home base in Howard, “Riah’s Rainbow” helps children at nine different hospitals across the country. But when Covid-19 hit, the hospitals stopped taking donations and people stopped giving them.
But as she has done so many times before, Micki found an opportunity during the setback.
She completed much-needed inventory so that when the pandemic subsides, “Riah’s Rainbow” will be able to respond immediately.
“I’m ready and waiting. So if anybody wants a package. we’ll send it out right away.”
And when asked what Riah would make of all this, Klein doesn’t hesitate.
“I think she’s looking down and saying mom I’m really proud of you.”
A little girl’s legacy.
A mother’s love.
A bond that not even cancer can conquer.
“Riah’s Rainbow” website and social media detail how the family coped with a diagnosis called a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). This type of tumor is located in the brain stem, at the base of the brain. Affecting primarily children, it is the rarest and worst of pediatric brain tumors. Approximately 150 to 200 children are diagnosed each year.
In March, Local 5 will introduce you to this year’s finalists with our “Remarkable Women” special announcing the winner in April