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Lancaster native showcased on "Jimmy Kimmel Live"


by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter

MERNER
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Last week during an episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Lancaster native Kellie Merner was showcased as a healthcare hero, and subsequently treated to a few surprises. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
September 16, 2020
HARTFORD, Conn. — Lancaster native and WMRHS graduate, Kellie Merner was featured as a Health Care Hero during an episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Merner is a NICU nurse in Hartford, Conn. and had no idea what surprises were coming her way. The clip aired during the Sept. 9 episode.

Hosting the show this week was a stand in for Kimmel, Josh Gad. Gad is well known for voicing the character of Olaf in Disney's "Frozen." Merner has a deep love of all things Disney, and had planned a Disney themed wedding planned for this summer, however plans fell through when Covid hit.

During her interview, Merner told Gad that Covid did not stop the babies from coming.

"We had to learn to adapt, wear more PPE and go with how the wind changes," explained Merner.

She said of all the changes taking place, the visiting policy has been the toughest.

"Parents are no longer able to visit their babies together, so they can't have that bonding experience," she said.

Merner's hard work was applauded before the conversation switched to all things Frozen.

"My fiancé and I are pretty big fans of 'Frozen.' We often sing 'Love is an Open Door' randomly," she joked.

Merner said the biggest "Frozen" fan in her family, however, is her step mother Toni. At the family's camp the bathroom is Olaf themed, a photo was featured during the clip, complete with some humor. A sign that reads "Let it Go" hangs above the latrine.

The soon to be bride explained how her wedding was no more, due to the pandemic. When she told Gad about her Disney theme, he made a friendly joke: "Did you plan to have woodland birds help you get ready?"

Perhaps the biggest surprise was when Gad had other Frozen cast members Zoom in to "meet" Merner. Kristen Bell, who voiced the character of Anna, Idina Menzel, who voiced Elsa, and Jonathan Groff, who voiced Kristoff, all took part in the surprise. In keeping with wedding tradition, the cast brought Merner something old, something new, something borrowed something blue. Bell's borrowed gift was a vintage Golden Girls Puzzle.

"I'm going to need that back," joked Bell.

Menzel covered the blue part by gifting the bride with an Elsa gown she had specially made for a Halloween party. Groff had an old Olaf doll hanging around that he thought would suffice.

Merner said "She already sent the puzzle!"

Merner was then awarded $10,000 to spend however she sees fit. Her staff at the hospital was also provided with masks and relaxation kits.

The Disney fan was discovered by ABC producers via her Disney fan Instagram account 'bibbidi.bobbidi.bride.

"They had originally told me they were interviewing healthcare workers about their experience during COVID-19. During the interview they mentioned that they were especially looking for a Disney loving healthcare worker and found me and my page. A few days after the initial interview they gave me the word that I would be on the show and filming that next week," explained Merner.

As Olaf says, "Some people are worth melting for!"

Merner couldn't agree more.

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