White and brown sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk, whipping cream and butter are some of the ingredients used to make caramels. That — combined with love and support — have also been healing ingredients for the Feltner family.
“We started making caramels just as a Christmas treat,” Tim Feltner said. “My mom always made candy for Christmas, so we were always involved with that as kids.”
In September 2014, the 3-week-old granddaughter of Tim and his wife, Kristin Feltner, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis — an incurable genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. Within the year, they welcomed another granddaughter, Kimber, who passed away from SIDS only a few months later.
With the sudden afflictions the family was facing, Tim wanted to do something to help his family. So, he turned his 10-year holiday caramel-making tradition into a family business, calling it Kimber’s Karamels.
“Emery gave us the cause, and Kimber gave us the name,” Tim said. “We could see that things were starting to put a lot of stress on our kids financially.”
Kelsey Christensen, Kimber’s mother, said she took her daughters out for a walk in August 2015 and then put 2-month-old Kimber down for a nap. When she went to check on her, she was gone.
“Any chance to get her name out there I’ll do it,” Christensen said of using her daughter’s namesake for the company.
The family makes the gourmet caramels in Tim and Kristin’s home in Harrisville. They offer various package sizes for plain or pecan caramels.
Kimber’s Karamels’ proceeds currently help pay for Emery’s cystic fibrosis medications.
“Right now we’re lucky at most times just to cover expenses,” Tim said.
Emery is on a restrictive diet and undergoes breathing treatments daily. She has regular appointments at Primary Children’s Hospital, where she visits with six to eight providers each visit.
“When she gets sick, it’s scary because of all the mucus,” Emery’s mother, Kaylee Knighton, said. “If she gets any type of sickness, it takes her sometimes a month and a half to two months to get off a simple cold.”
Money raised from Kimber’s Karamels, along with donations, have helped the family replace Emery’s manual chest physical therapy (CPT) with an automated oscillation vest that helps break up the excess mucus in her chest.
Tim, an engineering teacher at Layton High School, is developing an automated percussive machine he hopes will replace manual devices for cystic fibrosis patients around the world.
“I think it’s made us stronger honestly,” Kristin Feltner said. “It’s been a learning experience, but we’re all together, and we band together to help each other and do what we can.”
Kimber’s Karamels can be bought at kimberskaramels.com or at Walmart.com
“What I’ve learned personally is to live life to its fullest because you never know what’s going to happen,” Knighton said. “For us family has become the most important.”