Pay It Forward - Donation Helps with Smiles for Ryan

12/7/2016 1:00:00 PM

Pay It Forward
Bell Bank employees in Detroit Lakes, Minn., pooled their Pay It Forward funds to help with surgery costs for a customer’s child, who was born with a birth defect that prevents him from smiling.

Bell Employees

Nancy Baker

Patty Kiebke


The Ryan Larsen Family

The Need

Ryan Larsen was born with Moebius syndrome. It’s a rare birth defect caused by the absence or underdevelopment of 6th and 7th cranial nerves, which control eye movements and facial expression, according to the National Institutes of Health.

He has had one surgery for his smile and will need to have another procedure.

The Impact

When Patty Kiebke, a teller, and Nancy Baker, a personal banking officer, both in Bell’s Detroit Lakes, Minn., branch, learned about Ryan’s situation, they decided to use their Pay It Forward funds to help. They called the Larsens, saying they were throwing a little party for Ryan, and surprised his family with a check for $13,000. Employees had pooled their Pay It Forward money to help the Larsens.

Ryan’s mom, Nikki Larsen, told Patty that Ryan calls Bell the smile bank and that he knows it’s his bank because of the yellow smiley face logo.