Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Starting a March for Babies Family Team

While our daughter Addie was in the NICU for 135 days, we struggled a lot with feeling isolated.  Our small support system was great, but most of our friends were far away and those that did live close had small children that were restricted from visiting the hospital due to the H1N1 outbreak. We would have loved to be part of a support group at our hospital, but for whatever reason, parental relationships were not really encouraged in the NICU.  We did bond with a few other couples, but their children had other health issues that didn’t require a long NICU stay.  And so our 4½ month stay in the hospital was followed by a four month RSV quarantine that left us both stir-crazy and far removed from many of our “old” friends.  (Having a critically-ill infant really shows you who your friends are, right?) About the time that April rolled around, we received an e-mail from one of our NICU mom friends: they were participating in our local March of Dimes fundraiser, the March for Babies, the first weekend in May.  I excitedly called Adam to tell him about it and he encouraged me to sign us up! I went to marchforbabies.org and typed in my zip code to find the location closest to us.  I named our team (“Walking for Adeline”) and set a fundraising goal of $680, one dollar for every gram Addie weighed at birth. I sent out e-mails to everyone we knew, updating Addie’s progress and asking them to help us raise money for preemies.  The first year (2009), we raised over $700 for the March of Dimes! The walk itself was a lot of fun—the whole event was very family-friendly and we saw lots of other families from our NICU, plus a few of the nurses.  The three of us had a great time and we knew that we would make the March for Babies an annual event for our family! After the walk, I received an e-mail from our local event coordinator, a March of Dimes staffer.  She asked if I would like to join the Family Team Committee for the 2010 walk, and so I did.  It was a great chance to meet other preemie parents from the area! In the fall of 2009, we were told that we could start our March for Babies fundraising page for the 2010 walk.  We updated pictures of Addie and doubled our goal to $1,350, ten dollars for every day she was in the hospital.  I sent out an e-mail and set up a badge on Facebook asking people to “sponsor” a day or two of Addie’s NICU stay.  As the money poured in, people got a big kick out of finding out what happened on “their” day and it was a great way to raise awareness for all of the effects of prematurity. I also had a fundraiser in our home; several local “vendors” from Southern Living at Home, Tastefully Simple, and Premier Designs Jewelry (plus a few local companies) set up tables to sell their wares—all they had to do was donate an item to be raffled as a door prize.  We solicited donations from local restaurants and businesses and auctioned them off for a decent price.  That event alone brought in over $200, though I wish more people had come. For 2010, we raised over $1,600 and had 12 people walk with us on our “Walking for Adeline” team! An interesting March for Babies statistic: most family teams only last three years.  Either the family has another baby or the friends lose interest in the preemie cause, I’m not sure.  Our family is committed to the March of Dimes for life—their fight for babies is one of the reasons our Adeline is still with us! Here’s a new public service announcement from the March of Dimes.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCyzHna0WIY I’m sure we can all relate to it!


  1. Wow, I absolutely love your idea about setting your goal $1 for every gram your preemie weighed at birth, and then $10 for every day they stayed in the NICU. That’s so awesome! I think I’ll do that next year.

    Way to go getting so involved. I’m inspired!

  2. This past April was the first time I ever walked. Had am amazing time & will be doing it every year!

  3. I did March for Babies back in 2002 thru 2006. I have tried to do it up here in CT but just not had much luck.

  4. I started a family team this year. I loved it!

  5. Yes we have walked for the past 8 yrs in honor of both of our children born at 23 weeks and
    29 weeks – walk @ Hudson mills in Ann arbor ,mi

  6. Our family team name is Miracle Moons

  7. wow that sounds like fun! Id love to do that!

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