MORTON — The Morton High School boys’ basketball team and Coach Matt Franks are hosting the 7th annual Gameball Run event to raise money and awareness for Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Each school in District 709 has selected a Miracle Family to represent the services provided by Children’s Hospital and the impact it has on Morton families. To financially support Gameball Run, donate online at Each school is hosting events, with all proceeds going to Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

The Miracle Family representing Jefferson Elementary School is Kinsley Relph and her family – Andy, Braedon, Heather, Kinsley, and Gage Relph. This is their story.

Kinsley Relph was due in late March. Her mom, Heather, battled with high blood pressure throughout the pregnancy. “I began having severe cramps around 24 weeks of gestation and was sent to OSF St. Francis Medical Center,” said Heather Relph. “After arrival at the hospital, the medical team determined that due to my severely high blood pressure, Kinsley was receiving nothing from being in utero.” The team determined that it was in the best interest of mother and baby to deliver Kinsley.  They gave Kinsley’s parents two options. The first option was to deliver the baby with the knowledge she had only a 20% chance of survival. The second option was to go home and have weekly doctor visits and hope they still had a heartbeat each week. The doctor’s biggest fear was that Heather would suffer a heart attack and neither mother nor baby would survive. 

On Dec. 12, at 25 weeks of gestation, Kinsley Relph was born. She was considered a micro-preemie, weighing 15.7 ounces and 9 inches long. Kinsley was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately following birth and received two blood transfusions. She was placed in an incubator to keep her body temperature regulated. “Kinsley was placed on oxygen and had a feeding tube to provide all her nourishment,” said Heather Relph. “All IV’s had to be placed in her head as she continually pulled all the tubes out.”   

From there, the medical team called in an orthopedic specialist as the doctor was concerned with the way Kinsley’s hips were developing. “After several tests, it was concluded that her hips were fine,” said Mrs. Relph. “The medical team also had an ophthalmologist come into check on her eye development as retinal detachment is a common worry with premature babies. Kinsley checked out perfectly.”  

On Feb. 25, Kinsley was transferred to the Intermediate Care Unit. She was able to keep her body temperature maintained on her own and no longer needed to be in an incubator. She was making strides to be able to go home. Her final test was a car seat check and she passed. 

“On March 12th, eight days before her original due date, Kinsley was able to finally go home,” said Relph. “She weighed 4 lbs, 13 ounces. Kinsley remained on oxygen and an apnea monitor for one year at home.” 

“The Relph family is thankful for the NICU, doctors, and nurses that provided the care Kinsley needed to become the strong girl she is today,” said Heather Relph. “Remarkably, meeting Kinsley today, you would never know she was born so small. Kinsley is a happy and healthy kindergarten student at Jefferson Elementary.”