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Senior Legacy to benefit Kevin Healey fund

Mel Flanagan | Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The graduating senior class will honor a deceased classmate and assist future students in emergency health situations by supporting the Kevin Healey Emergency Assistance Fund with its 2011 Senior Legacy gift.

The Fund will assist students who require financial aid to travel in an emergency situation.

“For example, if a student has a family member sick and they need to get home, this fund will help provide funds for them to buy a flight home,” Assistant Director for the Annual Fund Tim Ponisciak said.

The Kevin Healey Emergency Assistance Fund will also reach out to families living far from the Notre Dame campus, Ponisciak said. If a student becomes ill or hospitalized while at Notre Dame, the Fund will assist family members traveling to South Bend.

The Fund is named in memory of Kevin Healey, who would have graduated this month with the Class of 2011. Healey fell to cancer in April 2009 during his sophomore year at Notre Dame.

Ann Healey, Kevin’s mother, said the legacy gift fit for her son’s experience at Notre Dame.

“When he started ND as a freshman, he had already been through nearly a year of cancer treatment,” she said. “Our family went back and forth between ND and the Cleveland Clinic where Kevin was being treated hundreds of times.”


Fundraising for the Legacy is off to a great start, Student Development Committee (SDC) co-chair Maggie Nettesheim said.

Nettesheim said SDC raises funds for the Legacy in a number of ways. Members of the committee send emails and letters to seniors and their parents, and the University Phone Center calls graduating students and their families for donations as well.

This year, SDC also hosted a trivia night at Legends on March 30 and donated the admission fees to the fund.

“We were completely booked to capacity, and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun,” Nettesheim said. “It was at the beginning of the campaign, so it was a really good way to get things jumpstarted and get the word out.”

Members of Kevin Healey’s hometown will also contribute to the fund. St. Bernadette’s, an elementary school in Cleveland, Ohio, will host a day of fundraising May 18. Ann Healey teaches kindergarten at St. Bernadette’s and said her students’ parents requested to hold the fundraiser.

In exchange for a small fee, students can choose to “dress down” and wear clothes other than their school uniforms. The school will also raffle gift baskets and sell baked goods. All proceeds from the day will be donated directly to the Emergency Fund.

Ann Healey said she and her family plan to present the funds they raise to Notre Dame when they travel to South Bend to receive Kevin’s diploma at graduation.

“The parents are rallying behind our family as they have all along,” she said. “They want to make a contribution to the Kevin Healey Senior Legacy Fund this year and this is the way they chose to support it.”

Earlier this year, Nettesheim and the SDC selected five suggestions from the senior class for the Senior Legacy 2011 gift. The seniors then voted online for one of the five.

“This fund definitely got a lot of support,” Nettesheim said. “I think people were really enthusiastic about it.”

Ponisciak said approximately 570 seniors have already made donations, up from the 550 members of the Class of 2010 who donated before their graduation. He said while the Emergency Assistance Fund is the sponsored fund of the class, seniors can choose to donate to other areas of the University as well.

Ann Healey said her family is touched Kevin has not been forgotten and grateful to know this fund will be in place to assist future Notre Dame families going through similar situations as hers once did.

“As Kevin’s mom, I would encourage all seniors and their parents to support this fund if for no other reason than being grateful for their four years at Notre Dame,” she said. “It really is the most amazing place in the world.”