Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jacksonville Friends of Maddie

Last year I learned of the death of Maddie Spohr from a good friend of her parents, Maria. I clicked over to the family's blog and from that day on was captivated by the little girl with the golden curls and strikingly beautiful eyes. Her parents are inspiring, gracious, strong and kind. The have blogged through their grief, started a not-for-profit organization in honor of their daughter supporting families with children in the NICU, and recently welcomed another daughter, Annabel Violet, in to the world. Annabel was born nearly full-term and 100% healthy. You can read more about this amazing family and their wonderful little girl Madeline at The Spohrs Are Multiplying or at Friends of Maddie. See below for a message from the Spohrs from the Friends of Maddie website.

From FriendsOfMaddie.org:

"After 28 weeks and 6 days of an extremely rocky gestation, Madeline Alice was born on November 11, 2007. She weighed three pounds one ounce, and was 15 3/4 inches long. Because she was over 11 weeks premature, she was rushed to a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She spent 68 long days there until the wonderful January afternoon she went home.

Maddie′s prematurity left her lungs scarred, but her amazing happiness remained unscathed. She lit up the lives of everyone she met (and countless more she didn′t) with her bright eyes, infectious laugh, and gigantic grin.

On April 6th, Maddie came down with a severe respiratory infection. She left the world suddenly and unexpectedly April 7, 2009."

This year I'm starting a Jacksonville Friends of Maddie group to raise money so that one day no family has to experience what the Spohrs and other families have gone (or are going) through. Sadly the Spohrs are not the first family I have known that have faced infant prematurity. So even though I walk for Friends of Maddie, I am also walking for Jake, for Ava, and for Vista. Jake is no longer with us but Ava and Vista are. And their families are no less amazing nor strong.

Are you local to Jacksonville or close by? Will you join our team and walk with us on April 24th?

Please help me in raising money to honor of the children we've lost and also to celebrate the ones that have lived.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.