Web Edition
Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2000

News - November 30, 2000

Londonderry couple hopes to ease the pain during child's illness


In the five days before their baby daughter Devon Nicole died, Thomas and Deanna Missert noticed something through their haze of grief -- having a place to call home when your child is in the hospital is a comfort. That knowledge has led the couple, who are also parents of 3-year-old triplets, Justin, Kaley and Brittany, to create a non-profit foundation in their daughter's name with the goal of building a similar home near Boston's Children's Hospital. "When the triplets were born, I had stayed a few nights at a place called David's House at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth, which is like a Ronald McDonald's house for children and their families," Thomas Missert said. In the five days after Devon Nicole's birth on July 30, 1999, he stayed there again as doctors struggled to stabilize his wife and daughter. Mrs. Missert's uterus had ruptured during Devon's delivery and the baby went about 20 minutes without oxygen. Devon was resuscitated, but died Aug. 4. "Deanna and I talked about it and we decided to donate Devon's organs since she was a very healthy little girl," Mr. Missert said. "The organ donor coordinator said that Devon would qualify for heart valve donations and that there was a tremendous need from children awaiting heart surgeries." The transplants of Devon's heart valves - which saved two children - took place at Children's Hospital in Boston, a fact that inspired the Misserts to found an organization to make Devon Nicole's House a reality. The pair hopes to raise several million dollars to buy and maintain a property in the Brookline or Chestnut Hill area. A fundraiser is being held Saturday, Dec. 9, at Luisa's Pizza in Derry. Fifty percent of the money earned from all food sold at the Derry location between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. will be donated to the foundation.