Providing supportive services for families with critically ill or medically-complex children

Who We Are

Our History

Normal Moments’ founder, Tricia Fragen’s daughter, Melissa, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, the day before the beginning of her sophomore year of high school. We battled valiantly through chemotherapy, septic shock, many surgeries, radiation, and the side effects of it all.

Without her dear friend, David, who stepped in to care for the dogs, plants, and house during extended hospital stays both locally and out-of-town, she says she “never would have survived. Sometimes, when we had to be at the hospital on a cold winter morning, I discovered that my neighbor had gotten up early and shoveled my drive way. On those special days, I had some extra time to share with my daughter and one less cause for exhaustion.”

When Melissa stopped eating everything but sushi, friends and family created the “Sushi Fund” at her favorite restaurant so that I didn’t go broke feeding her. And when no one else really understood what it is like to sit by your child’s side while her body struggles to survive, Sheryl was there to reminisce about her similar experience and I knew I was not alone.”

Our mission

Our mission is unique. While so many child-focused groups focus on giving special gifts – simple or extravagant – the gift we offer is as everyday, mundane and normal as can be–time with their parents.

Our values

Everyone deserves this kind of support when they have a child who is extremely ill. Before Melissa died, Patricia promised her daughter that she would help make sure everyone has the opportunity to get the kind of support she received.

Normal Moments supports parents who are supporting their medically-complex children. Please help us help them.


Melissa Fragen

Melissa planned to become a pediatric oncologist from the age of 8 and was diagnosed with cancer at 15. She died before her 17th birthday after helping found Normal Moments “because everyone deserves a David”. Melissa devoted herself to giving throughout her life, touched all who knew her, and is the impetus for the organization. As her friend, Laura, wrote, “Melissa is one of those people you usually just get to read about in books. I was honored to know her.”..

Board of Directors

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud

Patricia Fragen


Patricia Fragen founded Normal Moments in 2007 as a way to honor her daughter, Melissa Fragen. The rapid growth and success of Normal Moments stem from her amazing support system and her knowledge as a business consultant, which is her “everyday” career as the owner of Strategic Office Solutions, est. 2001, teaching business owners how to start, run, and grow their companies. In addition, Ms Fragen plays violin with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, has a string quartet that plays for weddings, business events, dinner parties, etc., volunteers her time helping to market a local Community Supported Agriculture program, and has recently joined as a volunteer with Naperville Search and Rescue.

David Orlicz

The Original "David"

The unique part of service as a ‘David’ volunteer is that there are no grand,dramatic gestures. It is the small daily chores that parents take for granted until their child is debilitated in a hospital and they have to choose between spending time dealing with trash day, the mail, and pets, and spending time and energy caring for their child.

When Tricia and Melissa first came to me with the name for this organization, I misunderstood her intention. I interpreted Normal Moments as a reference to what I did for her; take the trash out, collect the mail, water plants, care for the dogs, etc. So for me, Normal Moments is an aptly ambiguous name.

Sheryl Diller

Very familiar with the experience of sitting by one’s child’s side in the hospital, Sheryl was happy to sign on as Treasurer of Normal Moments. She is an enrolled agent of the IRS and her strength and determination are a big part of our success.

Brian Tait

Brian is a technical guru, an interest he shared with Melissa. He was a strong male role model in her life along with being a frequent visitor to the hospital. (Tricia says thanks for the sushi nights.) He shares responsibility for our web development.

Jessica Yee

Jessica Yee works in the Ethics & Conduct department at BMO Financial Group in Chicago. Inspired by her mother, who would always bring homemade meals for friends or family who were sick or needed help, Jessica learned the importance and impact of caring for others at a young age. 

Kelly Michelson

I am an attending physician in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. In addition to my clinical practice, I do research in areas related to communication and decision making in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and in Palliative Care. 

Get Involved

There are many ways to help our cause


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut.