Saturday, March 15, 2008

Team Tiny Feet

Ok, folks. I'm posting this to see what kind of power this blog can wield.

When Justin was a baby, I was still working Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri. I had my Wednesdays off and was so excited to join a Gymboree class and meet other moms with babies, as I had no friends with little ones! I was blessed. I met several women with babies, all born within 2-3 months of each other. We began hanging out after class, and then continuing on with our friendships as a playgroup every week. We had our playgroups for 4-5 years, until preschool and then, kindergarten, began interfering. But while we were a group, we were close. I called upon those women to help me in so many ways.... when my best friend was in the hospital, not being expected to live, they stepped up and watched Justin so that I could visit her in the ICU. So, when one friend, Karri, had gone into extremely premature labor with her twin girls, we tried to help as much as possible. The labor was held off as long as possible, but they were still born at around 25 weeks, I believe... Incredibly early. In fact, just at the cut-off of being considered "viable." I cannot imagine how hard it was to continue on, with a positive heart, through the months of NICU, apnea monitors, eye surgeries, and so on... But, persevere they did, and the girls are thriving!

And now, 7 years later, though we are only able to be in contact occasionally, I would like to try and help other babies like Hanna and Rachel...

Karri runs a team that walks for The March of Dimes. Her team, Team Tiny Feet, raises money every year, thanks to Karri's incredible work and dedication. I'd consider it a personal favor to me if you could consider donating a dollar or two (or more!) to help them have their best fundraising year ever! Here is a link for their very sweet montage on OneTrueMedia. And here is an excerpt from the email that Karri sent to me. Please consider donating. It could save a baby's life!

On February 24, 2008 Hanna and Rachel celebrated their 7th birthday! With all it’s blessings, and laughter the passed 7 years has still been a long journey for Hanna, Rachel, and our entire family. Starting out at a tiny 1lb 11oz, and1lb 12oz, the girls are still not giants topping the scales today at 36lbs, and38lbs. Most of you are aware that many 2 years olds are this size. We’ve overcome many hurdles in this time, but as the last year painfully taught us Prematurity is never cured.

For some preemies they are discharged from the NICUand never look back. They are left unscathed by their early beginning. But for many babies that beginning can never be forgotten, as they live with daily reminders.

Hanna’s early years were marked with chronic pneumonia, and Asthma. She endured 8 surgeries before the age of 3 years old, and daily medications and nebulizer treatments to keep her lungs healthy. Today we are very pleased to say Hanna appears to have overcome all the illness she battled in the first 4 years oflife. Other than quarterly eye exams to ensure the health of her eyes due tothe Retinopathy of Prematurity, she no longer requires any medications, or nebulizer treatments. In fact she has stayed remarkably healthy these lasted 3 years: a dramatic change from her early years of life. She’s a typical little girl who loves to play basketball, go to school, and read books. She has excelled in 1st grade beyond our wildest dreams.

Rachel is and always has been our feisty girl. What she may appear to lack in size she certainly makes up for in personality. I’ve always said that Rachel loves life. She’s been blessed with an incredible spirit.From the very beginning life was hard for her. The odds continually stacked against her, but each time she fought her way back. Among the countless obstacles while in the NICU she endured bleeding in her brain. The outcome fromthat bleed we were told by the doctors: unknown. Life as a parent of preemies brings frequent “wait and see” time frames. We waited to see how long it wouldtake for the girls to breath, to eat, to grow, to talk, to walk. You watch, and you wait all the while trying to go on with life, and not be consumed by all this waiting. As Rachel has grown and developed things have always been difficult. She’s always been just a bit behind her peers, and siblings. These difficulties became much more evident as she began Kindergarten. The struggles became many,and at times very overwhelming from both Rachel, and Mommy. After many tests, and many meetings Rachel has been diagnosed as Learning Disabled, suffers from Auditory, and Visual Processing Disorders (her brain lags in processing all ithears and sees), and most recently a Seizure Disorder.

One of the hardest things to cope with through all these diagnosis is knowing that had she had her full 40 weeks she would NOT be facing any of these struggles. As her Mother this can be heart breaking at times. Every Mother wants a healthy baby. Every Mother envisions a large round belly, gentle kicks from the inside. I was no different. Thousands of Mothers are no different. But sadly, every year 1 in 8 babies are born just as Hanna and Rachel were: Too Soon Too Tiny Too Sick.

Despite our struggles of the past, and the struggles that may lie ahead, we are one of the lucky families. We left the NICU with two beautiful girls, and have been blessed to watch them grow, and thrive. To see how far Hanna and Rachel have come please click on the link below to view our video montage:’m sending you this today to invite you to be a part of our Family Team, TeamTiny Feet, and march with us on Sunday, April 27, 2008 in Naperville. Together we can make a difference. We can ensure a better future for all Mom, Dads, and babies.To sponsor Team Tiny Feet, or join our team and march along side us please click on the link Once you have linked to our personal March For Babies site you can either clickon link #1 to sponsor, or link #3 to register to join our team. Both are located on the left side of our page.

I have one last request. If you know anyone who you feel would support our efforts, please forward this email on.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Karri, March for Babies Team Tiny Feet Sunday April 27,2008 Won't you join us in our mission to save all babies?
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