I had always been one of those people who never got involved with helping to raise money for any cause. As a matter of fact, it used to frustrate me when all of my children would bring home the same fundraising sheets selling the infamous candy or candles. That particular relationship ended abruptly on January 18, 2004 -- the day my niece Lyric was born.
At 26 weeks pregnant, my brother's longtime girlfriend Amanda Haseman, had gone into premature labor and was being rushed to St. Vincent's hospital in Indianapolis. Just a few hours later, my niece entered this world only to be immediately placed in the neonatal unit of the hospital.
For a little over five months of her life, Lyric relied on many types of equipment that allowed her young and weak body to become strong. The many types of machines used to accomplish this was purchased with funds through many sources including funds from the March of Dimes. This equipment allowed my niece to become stronger and eventually go home with her parents.
Lyric endured several years of both physical and occupational therapy while completing exercises which helped her body overcome her prematurity. She is now 11 years old and is a typical pre-teen -- listening to country music (especially Jason Aldean), playing on her I pad and hanging out with her friends and her younger brother, Dominic.
Approximately a year after Lyric's birth my family became wholeheartedly involved with helping to spread the word and raise funds for the March of Dimes. Our family team has collected thousands of dollars through donations from individuals, bake sales and pumping gas for customers at Casey's in both Jasonville and Linton. We have even burnt up the pavement going door to door -- in the rain and snow - for donations. For years the family has also participated in the March of Dimes walk at the city park in Washington, Indiana.
With no hint of hesitation, these funds were raised from the love of my niece's life and the belief in the premise of the March of Dimes.
In 1938, the March of Dimes was founded by Franklin Roosevelt. At that time it was not known by its current name but as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and instantly gained the accolades of the citizens for its mission statement. Although it was initially known as a foundation that raised funding for infantile paralysis, it later became known by its current name and for raising money to help fight premature births.
Approximately 450,000 babies are born premature each year and receive treatment from machines that help them breathe, see and eat -- all through March of Dimes funding. From these machines to feeding tubes and special infant beds, these funds allow these premature babies to gain their strength and let them grow and live normal, happy and fulfilling lives.
Please, the next time you see a March of Dimes fundraiser, are approached by a caring individual collecting money for the organization or you have the opportunity to become involved in a local walk, think of all the babies you could be helping live a promising life -- and think of my niece Lyric.
March of Dimes Contact Information:
March of Dimes National Office
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY. 10605
State of Indiana Contact Number:
March of Dimes website:
Tina Blythe is a former local reporter who is returning to write an occasional column. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org