We've been walking in March for Babies since 2004. Our twin girls, Hanna and Rachel were just 3 years old at our first walk. I had heard a PSA promoting our local event. I remember thinking, they're talking to me; about my family; about our micro-preemies. I quickly signed myself up, asked a friend and her family to joins us and five days later we participated in WalkAmerica (what it was called at that time). Within an hour of finishing the 6 mile walk we were so inspired that we knew we'd be back the following year. Bigger and better.
In 2005 the March of Dimes officially launched the concept of Family Teams, and Team Tiny Feet was born. Over the course of the year I began researching more about the March of Dimes and learned that if not for this foundation, and the fundraisers that walked before us, Hanna and Rachel would not have survived their extremely early arrival. My mission for 2005 was to raise awareness on how our family was directly impacted by the work of the March of Dimes, and to raise funds to support their research efforts. I began emailing and talking to anyone that would listen. I rallied a team of 30 walkers and raised a couple thousand dollars. Since that first walk it's a given that our family, and our entire community that makes up Team Tiny Feet, will be walking in late-April to fund the research that is saving babies. Babies just like our daughters. To date we have grown to more than 130 walkers each year and have raised more than $125,000.
In 2001, Hanna and Rachel were born at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1lb 12oz and 1lb 11oz respectively, and measuring just 12 inches long. They spent 12 weeks in the NICU learning breathe, eat and grow. In the 5 years that followed their discharge Hanna endured more than 8 surgeries, and multiple hospital admissions for chronic lung complications. Both girls spent years receiving therapies each week to ensure proper development. Hanna graduated from services just after their second birthday. Rachel continues with multiple therapies today, at 16 years old, due bleeding in the brain at birth resulting in an Autism diagnosis.
Every year more than 15 million families worldwide face life inside the NICU, and/or the fallout that comes with it after discharge. 1 million of these families face the ultimate heartbreak and never get to bring their babies home. Those numbers haven't changed much since 2001 when Hanna and Rachel were born. There have been continued advancements in saving babies lives after preterm birth, but the number of babies arriving prematurely hasn't decreased. That means that millions of families are facing the lost dreams of a healthy pregnancy, and healthy baby, free of complications. Millions of families are facing a future of uncertainty and worry.
This is what keeps bringing us back year after year. This is why we are still walking, raising awareness and raising money through Team Tiny Feet to support the mission of the March of Dimes.
Your family is such an inspiration! You give and give and give and you remind everyone that there is always something more we can be doing. You are raising amazing kids who are never going to take a healthy pregnancy and a full-term baby for granted. The pain of a premature delivery and having babies in the NICU have pushed you to make the world a better place.
Thank you so much for all that you do. You make us all want to do a little more, be a little better, change the world one baby at a time.
You are doing amazing things and are such an inspiration! Thank you for everything you and your family have done!
Karri I can't say thank you enough for what you and your family do for the March of Dimes!! I also can't tell you enough what an inspiration you are to all the other family teams. Your family is truly proof that miracles happen everyday and that one day we can end premature birth! So much love to you and your girls.
Love and Hugs
Team Tiny Feet is one awesome family team with super awesome team captains! Thank you for all that you do and continue to do to support the March of Dimes year after year. Your fundraising totals are a result of your hard work, creativity, and commitment to this wonderful organization. Inspiring indeed!
Karri, you and your family are amazing. I love how committed all of you are to promoting awareness of prematurity and the March of Dimes. Thank you for being a hero for babies!
We help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. And if something goes wrong, we offer information and comfort to families. We research the problems that threaten our babies and work on preventing them.
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