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Valencia Boy Opens Heart And Piggy Bank For Littlest Patients

Max_Merlo3_editOne of the area’s newest philanthropists, 7-year-old Maxx Merlo is making an investment in a new generation.

The Valencia boy recently donated his savings from gifts and special occasions to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital’s Kim and Steven Ullman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which is scheduled to open in the spring.

Merlo and his parents, John and Donna visited Diana Vose, president of the hospital’s Foundation to make the donation. Both Maxx and his sister, Danielle, were born at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.


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When he started saving coins from special occasions and his allowance, young Merlo knew that he wanted his donation to benefit children in hospitals. Once he heard that the new NICU would soon be open, he was excited to help little babies and decided that he would give his savings to Henry Mayo for our tiniest patients.

“We were looking for something that would make a local impact and the NICU does that,” John Merlo said. “I knew about the positive impact Henry Mayo’s Foundation had in the community through local articles. And I knew they must be doing something right.”

John and Donna encourage their children to give back. When Maxx reached his goal of $110, after a year of saving, John matched it. John passed along to Maxx what he learned from his own father — giving back.

“He started saving about a year ago,” the elder Merlo said. “He was very persistent and saved from several special occasions. He has a giving heart and wanted his gift to make an impact. With the NICU, he understands where his money is going.”

Henry Mayo’s new, 11-bed NICU is scheduled to open in early 2012. Great thought went into the 4,369-square-foot NICU’s design to ensure a high quality, comprehensive continuum of care for all mothers and babies who need extra care, along with a warm, nurturing environment that will meet the needs of our tiniest patients right here in our own community and close to family and friends.