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Grand Forks family mourning loss of baby girl

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A family is saying goodbye to a Grand Forks baby who spent her entire life in the hospital. Nick McNelis and Billie Olmstead had to travel all over the country for their daughter's medical conditions. Their eight-month-old dau...

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Billie Olmstead and Nick McNelis with baby Rylie. Submitted photo

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – A family is saying goodbye to a Grand Forks baby who spent her entire life in the hospital.

Nick McNelis and Billie Olmstead had to travel all over the country for their daughter's medical conditions.

Their eight-month-old daughter Rylie was living in Milwaukee at a children's hospital. On Saturday, her grandmother said that baby Rylie passed away this week after going into cardiac arrest. A wake will be held on Monday and the funeral on Tuesday.

The couple had hardly been able to hold Rylie, who was born with a life-threatening heart defect and 10 weeks before her due date. Within 24 hours after Rylie was born, she had already been through two major surgeries, Olmstead told the Herald last month.

They usually had to stay in hotels while visiting their daughter at the hospital in Milwaukee, and the costs added up, McNelis told the Herald last month.

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Grand Forks City Council member Terry Bjerke recently had donated part of his salary to help with the family's medical and travel expenses after hearing about the family's plight. McNelis has worked at the city's water treatment plant for about a year.

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