Meet Michael Joe Lanari

At birth, Michael Joe Lanari was in life-threatening trouble.

Born with Down syndrome his team at Arkansas Children’s quickly discovered Michael Joe had two holes in heart. He needed emergency surgery to repair his tiny heart. The situation was critical. “Arkansas Children’s got him and our family—through that life and death situation,” says Fran. “My husband and I saw firsthand the level of care that included our entire family.” Michael Joe, who has Down syndrome, has had other procedures at Arkansas Children’s Ear, Nose and Throat, Ophthalmology and Dermatology clinics; each has had a good outcome. And you helped bring Michael Joe through it.

When the oldest Lanari sibling, Rachael, had a severe grand mal seizure, there was no time to lose. And the Lanaris knew where to take her for immediate emergency care. “She survived two seizures that day, and it was confirmed that she had epilepsy. Arkansas Children’s neurologists work continually to keep her triggers down—they really keep a vigil over her treatments and evaluations,” says Fran. Once again, donors like you came to Rachael’s rescue.

The Lanari’s attachment to Arkansas Children’s went beyond treatment for Rachael and Michael Joe’s health issues. “We made a pledge that once Michael Joe’s health was stable to fundraise for Arkansas Children’s,” says Fran. “We knew we had to contribute in some way.”

So, the Lanari’s business, Kitchen and Bath Concepts, launched its Home Expo. Now in its twelfth year, the Expo donates 100% of proceeds from food, vendors and silent auction to Arkansas Children’s. Total donations to date are over $350,000. “We plan to keep going with it until we reach a half million…or more,” Fran promises. “We feel that any family who’s going through so much fear about the health of their child shouldn’t have the added stress of paying a hospital bill.”

Rachael and Michael Joe are receiving a level of care at Arkansas Children’s that’s “personal and relatable,” says Fran. “(The doctors and staff) make us feel like they have all day to help us.”

Neither Michael Joe nor Rachael like to share the spotlight with the other. Which is fine with their mom; Fran Lanari loves both of her children and tries not to put one above the other.

Fran says, “Knowing the level of expertise and caring that we have at Arkansas Children’s gives us and our children so much confidence.Rachael and Michael Joe feel like they can do anything in this world, thanks in large part to Arkansas Children’s.”
The Lanaris, grateful for donors like you, have turned their gratitude into giving back.

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