Mary Moon Foundation holds ‘splash’

The Mary Moon Foundation, established in memory of Apple Valley youngster Mary “Moon” O’Keefe, will host its second annual “Make a Splash” event at the Water Park of America from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 3.

The event features discounted admission to the water park, games, entertainment, food and a silent auction. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Child-Family Life Services at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

Mary O’Keefe lost her battle to a childhood cancer at age 3. In 2011, her parents, Peter and Christine O’Keefe, co-founded the nonprofit as a way to give back to an organization that made a big impact to their family while Mary was hospitalized – Child-Family Life Services at Amplatz.

“From our perspective, the services of Child-Family Life were just as important as the medical procedures,” Christine said. “They were there the day Mary was diagnosed – blowing bubbles to ease the tension – all the way to the end, when they made a mold of her hand as a memorial.”

With the launch of the foundation’s “Make a Splash” event, the O’Keefes have substantially increased their capacity to give back to the organization that made such a difference in their lives. What started as a modest monthly donation of arts and craft supplies to Child-Family Life at Amplatz, grew to a $13,000 donation in 2012.

“I never thought we were going to run a foundation,” Christine said. “It all started with us bringing in craft supplies and then we were inspired to do something bigger.”

Last year’s event attracted more than 1,200 attendees and the O’Keefes anticipate a similar turnout this year. They hope to also match last year’s fundraising efforts. If they reach their goal of raising another $12,000 for Child-Life Services, Amplatz will create a perpetual fund that will forever live in Mary’s name.

Tickets to this year’s “Make a Splash” event can be purchased at for $12, which is approximately half the price of regular admission to the water park.