I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had to get new family photos taken, and I can finally announce why: we are the Los Angeles March for Babies Ambassador Family! We are incredibly honored to take on this important role. I feel especially privileged to represent the many families who have lost children to prematurity-related causes. I know how hard it is for bereaved parents to go to the March for Babies every year and see all the children who survived – I hope we will make them proud.

The Ambassador family job comes with a few responsibilities. I’ll be speaking at a lot of March of Dimes and March for Babies events over the next few months. There, I’ll be sharing Maddie’s story, and why we are so committed to the March of Dimes’ mission to end prematurity. I will also be addressing the crowd of 20,000+ people before the big Los Angeles March for Babies on April 30th. As most of you know, I spoke at the walk in 2009, and I am grateful for the opportunity to tell more people about my daughter’s beautiful life.

The other part of our job is to help raise awareness for the March for Babies, which is the March of Dimes’ biggest fundraiser. There are walks in cities all over the nation (you can find the one closest to you here). On April 30th we Spohrs will be Marching for Maddie in Los Angeles, the ninth year we’ve marched in her name. By participating, we are helping March of Dimes champion the needs of families and babies in our community and across the nation. The money we raise through March for Babies will support lifesaving research, services, education and advocacy that help babies get a healthy start – babies like Annabel, who made it to 36+ weeks, and James, who made it to 38 weeks, thanks in large part to medical advances championed by the March of Dimes.

Our team, March for Maddie, is not only one of the largest family teams in Los Angeles but also one of the most successful fundraising teams in the nation. It’s an honor that all of you help make possible every year. Our team goal is $10,000, but our biggest goal is to get the word out and get lots of walkers. I’m going to need to see a lot of supportive faces in that audience of 20,000 people!! Beyond LA, we’re hoping that everyone who has walked for Maddie and other babies in years past will walk again. And to everyone who hasn’t walked yet, we hope this will be the year you join, (or even start) a team.

Joining a team means so much to my family. April is hard and emotional, and after the sadness we feel in the days leading up to the seventh, knowing that we will see (either in person or via photos and emails) so many people supporting and remembering Maddie…honestly it’s a light that leads us through. In the last seven years, literally thousands of people opened their hearts and wallets and donated to the March of Dimes in honor of our beautiful Madeline. The donations that came in after Maddie passed completely blew my family away, and made sure that millions of people, including lawmakers, knew about the devastating effects of prematurity.

If you’re in Los Angeles, we would be honored if you would march with us. You can sign up HERE to join the original March For Maddie team. If you are elsewhere in the country, please consider joining our team as a marcher in spirit. It doesn’t cost anything but a few moments of your time. Monetary donations can be made directly to the March of Dimes through my link here (thank you SO much). Every little bit helps, even if it’s only a dollar! In 2009, 90% of the donations our team received were for $10 or less – and we were the top family team in the nation!

This year, if we pass our team goal of $10,000, we’ll pass over $100,000 raised for March of Dimes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We are also selling Marching For Maddie Shirts again this year. Shirt sales are open to everyone, and all proceeds are going towards Team March for Maddie (we also sell Friends of Maddie shirts). If you want to wear a shirt at your walk this year, be sure to order it ASAP!

Most importantly – please help us spread the word and mission of the March for Babies. You can share this post, or the next time you see a sign for the March of Dimes take a moment to explain what the MoD does to the person next to you. Through knowledge comes advocacy and research. Wouldn’t it be amazing to say you helped make prematurity a thing of the past?

Thank you again for everything you have done for my family, and in turn, thousands of other families. We miss Madeline so much, but knowing that there are people all over the world that have been touched by her is indescribable. We are all doing amazing things in her memory.