March for Babies 2013

March for Babies Minneapolis/St. Paul 2013 was another wonderful event.

If you haven’t been to a local walk before, please go.  You will not regret it.  The sense of community is really uplifting.  Running into families who were in the NICU with you is a true joy.  Meeting, in person, families you’ve only met online is awesome.  Remembering the babies who did not make it is an honor.  And, to see a large group of people coming together to support healthier babies…well, that’s one huge dose of hope.  Hope for the babies and families of the future.

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This was my second year walking for Super Wy’s Warriors in memory of Wyatt Olig.  Here’s Wyatt’s poster that was on the path of the walk.

Photo Credit:  Erica Nilsen Eide of http://www.minnesotapreemies.com/

Photo Credit: Erica Nilsen Eide of http://www.minnesotapreemies.com/

In honor of Wyatt, his mom carried Wy-Bear with her for the walk.

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We saw so many wonderful friends from the NICU.  I didn’t get pictures of them all, but here are a few.

There was Gio and Dina, a long time nursery mate in the NICU (Happy birthday on Friday, Gio!).  Could Gio be any cuter?

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There was Shandy whose daughter, Maria, had a very similar course – both 24 weeks with CMV leading to bowel perforations.  Shandy was the unofficial community leader while we were in the NICU.  She was friends with everyone and always had a hug and smile to share.

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Of course, Kathy, Wyatt’s mom and the leader of Super Wy’s Warriors.  Because of her efforts, our team has raised close to $12,000 for March of Dimes in the last two years.  She’s also a great friend.

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There was Joanna, Rich and Isaiah (hiding).  Two-time neighbors in Nursey 2 and Nursery 6 at the NICU and Joanna donated breast milk to Owen.

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There was Becca and her 23 weeker, Emma who took over Owen’s long time spot of bed 2B in the NICU .  Beccca is a fellow Amplatz Parent Advisory Board volunteer and has introduced me to a close circle of NICU mom’s who are ahead of us in the preemie journey.  (you can see her guest post about MOD lobby day here)

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Kellen had a blast.  I think his first crush is Wyatt’s big sister, Meredith who always takes him under her wing when she sees Kellen.

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Kyle and his employer donated the hot dogs for the walk, so Kyle joined the grilling team.  He loved it and has already signed up for the team next year.

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Owen was pretty overwhelmed by the experience in a different way than the rest of us.  There weren’t many of his trademark smiles.  6000+ people is a lot of people for a guy who has spent most of the last two years in isolation.

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I think one of the best things about March for Babies is it doesn’t have the stuffy fundraiser feel.  As you can see from the pictures, it’s a really happy and celebratory event.  However, it can’t be forgotten that March for Babies is the number one revenue stream for March of Dimes.  Donations are used to fund research aimed at finding life saving treatments for children born sick and to prevent prematurity.   I was really overwhelmed by the support that this community showed in giving donations to my fundraising efforts for the walk.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you for supporting this charity that has done so much for our family.  I’ve, so far, raised $1857 dollars this year.

Also, with a background in food marketing, I was able to help make connections to secure food donations from my former employers General Mills and ConAgra Foods.  Thank you Patricia and Michelle from General Mills and Daniel and Angela from ConAgra for the snacks.  I was told by the March of Dimes that there was not a Nature Valley bar or bag of Poppycock Apple Crisp left at the end of the day – both were a hit!  Kyle’s employer, Cargill, donated the hot dogs and many of the supplies, like Ketchup, mustard, napkins, serving trays.  Joanna, Isaiah, Owen and I made the adventure to Sam’s to buy the supplies last week.

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And, with all that love…I almost forgot to mention the weather.  Did you notice by my tank top and Kellen’s shorts?  Spring has finally hit Minnesota!  It seems it’s leaving by Wednesday, but I’m loving 70’s while we can get it.20130429-131008.jpg

 

Marching into Spring

Now that all the holidays and birthday celebrations are finally finished up in our house, these last few weeks of winter are when spring fever starts to set in.  Mind you, I didn’t say, Spring starts to set in…it’s 15 degrees Fahrenheit today…but the idea of spring starts to enter my mind.  I have always loved spring.  The fresh smell, the sun getting warmer and days getting longer.  It’s a time for new beginnings and foreshadowing of tank tops and flip flops ahead.  Two years of cold and flu season isolation, and my love for spring is even stronger.

I can’t wait to get the boys outside more.  If you asked Owen, he’d tell you getting bundled for winter outings is a form of torture that really should have been included in the Geneva Conventions.  Plus, we don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood, so when the streets have snow banks, there really isn’t a safe place for a winter walk with kids.  Ahhh, I can’t wait to start going for walks again!

And I know the time is nearing.  Do you want to know how?  Because last night I signed up for March for Dimes, March for Babies and it told me that our Minneapolis/St. Paul walk is only 72 days away.  The end of April is only 72 days away!  Owen will be TWO in 65 days.  Goldy’s run is in 56 days!  All this adds up to the official start of Spring being only 34 days away!

Sometime between 34 and 72 days from now, we’ll be able to end isolation for the year.  Could it be?  Is it possible?  Am I seriously going to make it?  Without going too insane? Through two full years of cold and flu season isolation?  Hallelujah!

But the truth is, I cannot complain about cold and flu season without knowing I’m lucky to be in cold and flu season with Owen.  Were it not for the March of Dimes supporting research like surfactant therapy, which has reduced death due to respiratory distress syndrome by two-thirds, Owen and his micro and extremely premature friends would not have had a chance of survival.

We have come a long way since 1974 when my brother, born at 31 weeks, had slim chances of survival.  But we also have a long way to go.  Prematurity is still the number one killer of infants in the United States.  Currently, 1 in 9 babies born here are born too soon.  That’s too many babies with life long struggles.  That’s too many parents who never get to bring their baby home.

That’s why I walk for the March of Dimes.  I walk to help raise awareness and funds to find research to improve the outcomes for those born too soon, and one day, put an end to prematurity.

I walk in memory of Wyat Olig (April 10, 2011 – November 22, 2011).  His time here was too short.  His mom is my friend.  I wish she, too, could complain about cold and flu season.  March of Dimes is the best chance that babies of the future may have better chances than Wyatt. I can’t say his passing will be worth it for the babies of the future, but his passing is a great reminder that there is still much to be done.

Will you join me in walking?  If you’re local, you’re welcome to join team Super Wy’s Warriors.  If you are in another state, you can learn about events in your area here.

If you can’t walk, but want to support my walk, you can donate here.

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Other March for Babies walkers, feel free to share your profile page in the comments.

Super Wy’s Warriors raise more than $6000 for the March of Dimes

Gallery

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We couldn’t have asked for better weather or company as Kellen and I participated in the Minneapolis March of Dimes March for Babies on Sunday.  With Owen just out of the hospital, he and Kyle had to sit this one … Continue reading