On a cool Saturday, we gathered.
Some of us marched in decorated rides,
and some of us marched the old fashioned way.
When we finished, we were proud.
We were surrounded by our friends, but most importantly, we were surrounded by her friends:
And soon, a new friend:
But most importantly, Annie was there, feeling the love for her sister.
Someday, Annie will know how much her sister means to so many people. Someday, she will know how much she herself means to everyone. She is a preemie too, but because of the March of Dimes, she is a preemie in name only. She is thriving. Every baby should get the chance to thrive.
Thank you to everyone who marched with us. Thank you to everyone who marched (and will be marching) elsewhere. To all who donated, you are heroes. The words to thank everyone adequately haven’t been invented.
Someday, I hope that no little girls will have to grow up without their big sisters.
thank you to my wonderful friends Dana and Megan for the photos
If your team raised money in Maddie’s name, please leave your team name & total in the comments!
Kate @ UpsideBackwards says:
What a wonderful event, congratulations to all who participated. I love the photo of Annie’s smile!
.-= Kate @ UpsideBackwards´s last blog ..In which we exasperate each other =-.
Look at that smile.
The last photograph breaks my heart. How unfair that this is the only way their faces can be photographed together. I love them both very much – which may sound strange, as I never met Madeline and haven’t ever met you or Mike or Annabel. Regardless, I think of you all daily.
Catherine Lucas says:
A bit of good news in what seems a bad world at times. People gather to walk in the name of a little passed away girl.
Wonderful to see some of her friends there too….
Hope you guys raised a lot of money for preemies.
.-= Catherine Lucas´s last blog ..Sandra and the peacock… =-.
Beautiful Day, beautiful event, beautiful pictures,! Heather, you have two very beautiful little girls!
.-= Krystal´s last blog ..Some of This a Little of That =-.
I was thinking of you all marching for Maddie on Saturday and knew it would be a successful event.
Your precious girls do indeed mean so much to so many people all over the world and they are always in our thoughts. Congratulations to you all who marched for Maddie. The photos are fantastic.
Sending you all much love from afar
Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
I was so happy to donate to Maddie’s cause. It’s wonderful to see all that purple walking down the street.
.-= Lynn from For Love or Funny´s last blog ..I’m just a heartbeat away from an affair =-.
I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been reading the blog for over a year. I had my own preemie this year, and he’s thriving like your gorgeous Annabel. But I donated to a friend’s MoD team (in Philly, where we had gross rainy weather for yesterday’s march!) because I realize now more than ever what a wonderful cause it is. Next year I’m hoping to march myself! My thoughts are with the Spohr family and my prayers are with your angel Maddie. Love the blog; keep up the good, inspiring (and often hilarious) work!
oooh, those kids all look adorable in these Maddie t-shirts!! And that last picture of Annie in her pram!!! love it!!
Congrats to everyone who helped to raise money/awarenes!
Sarah P says:
Great event! Beautiful photos.
Annie looks a lot like her mommy.
My team, March for Maddie in Connecticut, raised $65 dollars and marched yesterday in her name. I so wish it could have been more! It was rainy yesterday, but we walked anyway and it was a great turn out!
I expected your post to be about the march but when you wrote about “HER” friends being there I lost it and still to this very second cannot stop crying.
I often thought about Georgie, the “Other” Maddie, Austin and all the other kids growing up without her and how that must make you feel at times but when I saw them….another year older, thriving, smiling…..tears continue to Pour down my face and although it was so beautiful they came out to march, the injustice of it all…the hurt and cruelity of Maddie’s absence seems to be too much for me today.
I knew I always grieved for the little girl I never met, but I I guess it wasn’t until I saw how her little friends have grown, their delight, living their lives that I realized….just how much I did!
Jen at Cabin Fever says:
Oh my goodness, look at those eyes and that smile! How cute is she!
The March of Dimes is a wonderful experience. I remember when I did it I did the nine mile walk. My goodness that is long, but such a great feeling when you reach the finish line.
Glad you walked with happiness and friends
Cabin Fever in Vermont
.-= Jen at Cabin Fever´s last blog .. =-.
What a great day! Beautiful pictures too! How proud you must be for everyone involved and for your 2 beautiful girls!
.-= Java´s last blog ..Money Tree =-.
designHer Momma says:
Thought of you yesterday, it rained in Indy and was kinda somber out. $55.
.-= designHer Momma´s last blog ..Yesterday. Earth Day. Documented. =-.
Wow Annie looks like her sister! What a beautiful day for the event!
.-= charlane´s last blog ..Birthday Cake =-.
We marched this weekend too. It was raining, but that felt so appropriate in some way. In honor of my baby Quinne and in honor of Maddie. We donated a total of $40. Not much, I know but every penny counts.
.-= Anjie´s last blog ..Aloha Friday =-.
I wanted to March for Maddie in Atlanta this past weekend, but I had a previous commitment that kept me from signing up. So I donated, and I thought of everyone around the world marching for such a beautiful and amazing little girl and family.
What a fabulous event! The photos are amazing and I’m sure there are hundreds and thousands Marching for Maddie in their cities or their spirits.
I know I’ve said this before, but you have beautiful little girls.
XOXO from GA,
Jennifer Hayford says:
I participated in the March of Dimes walk in Tampa on Saturday with my program for NICU parents, the Help U Grow program (HUG) and I couldn’t help but think of Maddie. It’s a wonderfully bittersweet event and I was so happy to be a part of it.
I had such a great time marching with you all. Thank you, Heather, for everything!!! Hoping I can do it again next year!
.-= AmazingGreis´s last blog ..California Dreamin’… =-.
Fantastic. I especially love the picture of Annie smiling next to the Abby Cadabby doll. Congrats to everyone who marched!
.-= J+1´s last blog ..Rainy days and Sundays =-.
The pictures are beautiful. It’ll be awesome to have those pictures to share with Annie when she is older so she can see what it was like the first time she marched for her sister.
I was proud and honored to march for Maddie here in St. Louis. Our team, March for Maddie St. Louis, had 8 members (plus 6 kids ), we raised $2525 in Maddie’s name. It was again, like last year, an experience that is hard to give words to. I was thinking of Maddie every step of the way and was with all of you in LA in spirit.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Maya’s Best Doggy Pal =-.
Actually, make that $2665. It appears there are still a few check and cash donations that haven’t been included yet either, so I’ll email you with an exact total in a few days when it is all up to date.
So proud of our March for Maddie St. Louis team.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Maya’s Best Doggy Pal =-.
We Marched for Maddie in St. Louis on Saturday. Our group was small, but mighty. Lisa said we raised over $2000, but I am sure she can give you the real total.
I was very honored to wear my Maddie t-shirt and amazed at how many people were there marching.
Thanks for sharing your life and your daughters…it’s a inspiration to me every day.
Katie C. says:
Miss Annabel is getting so HUGE! She is adorable and I know her big sissy loves her and is proud of you all for walking for her and all the preemie babies!
Annie looks so gorgeous and chubby in that last pic. Question, do you consider her a preemie although she was born so close to her edd or is it because of the difficult pregnancy? I was just wondering.
Thought of you and your family this weekend. I think of your Maddie with every purple flower I see. This was a beautiful post, and the pictures are gorgeous. Annie’s photos put a lump in my throat – especially the last one. She is just the cutest! You and your family are really making things better for others with your efforts. Congratulations to you, and to all, who marched this weekend!
.-= MommaLionessMichele´s last blog ..Sights of Spring =-.
I thought of you guys on Saturday and happened to see the MoD donations that my local Publix grocery store was taking. So when I checked out I made a donation in Maddie’s name. So in a Publix in South Tampa, Fl there is a MoD flyer with Maddie’s name on it!
Lindsay from Florida says:
Had this EXACT experience on Saturday. A Publix in Fort Lauderdale, FL has the same!
What a beautiful event, Heather. Both your daughters are inspiring and lovely, and thank you for sharing them.
Trisha Vargas says:
I love all the photos of Maddie’s friends! :)3
My family marched Saturday here in Maitland,Florida. 6 Miles and lots of stories and tears along the way.
The turn out was huge this year. It was awesome. I was so proud as I marched. This past year has really put a lot of things in perspective for me and I realize how much of a difference one person can make.
I am so blessed to have 4 beautiful healthy daughters’. I have never had to endure a health scare with them or spend a night in the NICU and for that I am so grateful. I would march every weekend if Mom’s across the world would never have to endure that heartache.
(((HUGS))) from Florida
Our walk isn’t until May 8th, but so far our March for Maddie team has raised $395! We’ll email our final total! It’s so awesome to be part of this!
Wonderful. Maddie makes the world better every day…
xo from CT,
.-= amanda´s last blog ..weekend update. =-.
Congrats, you guys. Great work! In that one picture, Annie’s eyes look just like Maddie’s!
Just Jiff says:
That last photo made me cry.
Glad you guys had a wonderful event!
.-= Just Jiff´s last blog ..I Want. =-.
Michelle Pixie says:
I loved the pictures! I wish we had been there to walk with you all. Our walk here was perfect and a little emotional as we talked about Maddie most of the day. My 6 year old walked the whole way and didn’t complain once because she knew who she was doing it for and let me just tell you that alone is HUGE!
We raised $185 but we are on your team just walked in a different city…
.-= Michelle Pixie´s last blog ..6 Years with Diva =-.
Awesome! I was late to sign up, but marched for Maddie again this year (Team Anderson for Maddie-$225, Salem OR). My daughter and I stopped by every purple flower to think of your daughter.
LOVE and HUGS,
kristi and akyra
We marched in the pouring rain on Saturday. Our team was March for Maddie & Jack and we raised $330 with only 3 people on our team!
*Hugs to you, Mike and Annie* Love the pic’s!
.-= Jess´s last blog ..End of an Era =-.
Walking with the team on Saturday was amazing – I certainly hope to return next year and do the same.
My local walk is next weekend and right now, with 4 team members, we’ve raised $330 – I’ll let you know a final total after the event.
.-= Angela´s last blog .. =-.
Have to echo what other commenters wrote. I got chills when I saw your little Annie’s face next to Maddie’s. It breaks my heart that this is the only way you’ll see your girls photographed together. But I can also tell from your blog that you see them together in your heart all the time. I’m so glad the march was a huge success and hope you have a great week with your sweet little hunk of baby!
.-= Sirena´s last blog ..Homemade Milk Mayonnaise =-.
Annie is so beautiful, just like her big sister. And I find my heart breaking again, and find myself wishing I could just hug you tight.
YOU are a hero, Heather Spohr.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Our 4th Randa-versary =-.
We walked this year in LA, My son was born at 30 weeks and we walkd for him and my Nephews William (My son) whom is 5 now raised $80 on his own collecting coins from everyone, we would tell them we were walking for the March of Dimes and they would give him their coins. We brought in a total of 180 for team Little hearts Big Love.
I saw Many shirts with Maddys picture on it and would smile each time, having read your blog daily I was looking forward to seeing the purple,
Although I have never met your precious daughter I feel like I know her through your blog! What a beautiful celebration for Maddie! I wrote a post on my blog for Maddie, I hope you don’t mind!
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..For Maddie =-.
Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] says:
I love LOVE the Maddie design on the shirts.
The St. Louis total is up to $2,665 (some after-race contributions have come in). It was an honor to walk in Maddie’s name. Thank you for inspiring me to champion this wonderful cause!
Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts says:
March for Maddie St. Louis raised $2,665, beating our pledged goal of $2,500. This was my first year pledging and marching, and it was a wonderful experience. I’m proud to have been a part of it!
.-= Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts´s last blog ..How Big Is The World? =-.
My son and I marched in the Nashville march in memory of Maddie. We raised $65. I plan to do this every year now(and to be a better funraiser! ). We also donate every time we shop at Publix. Always in the memory of your beautiful daughter.
Rita from the Chicago says:
The picture of Annie and Maddie’s little doll (the name of which I can’t think of now…I’m also not a mom yet, so I don’t know all the names of the characters)…is SOOO adorable. To me, it feels like they’re both smiling at Maddie and saying “we love you and miss you!”
And Maddie’s friends with their shirts…so precious.
Glad you had a great walk!
Michelle W says:
I can’t even begin to count the number of times my breath has been taken away as I continue to follow you and your family on your journey. Also I loooove that picture of Annie with Maddie’s Abby Cadabby, her expression is just too cute.
We walked 6.25 miles in Los Gatos. this past Saturday. Our team, Love for Maddie, proudly wore our awesome “Marching for Maddie” shirts and purple shirts underneath. The 4 of us raised $325. Sorry it wasn’t more. We talked to many people there about Maddie and Friends of Maddie. Look forward to doing it again next year with hopefully a bigger team and even bigger donations.
This Saturday we walk for and with Jackie! in her SF walk. Such a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday!
I loved having the opportunity to meet you and Mike and Annabel and some of your friends. Maddie’s little friends are especially sweet. Meredith loved Annie and keeps telling me, “baby!” I told her maybe she could see the baby again soon.
(((HUGS))) and tears and warm thoughts about how Saturday was a day for Maddie, and so many people who had never met her love her.
Aunt Becky says:
We marched for Maddie and Mimi and raised, um, $1200.
.-= Aunt Becky´s last blog ..Go Ask Aunt Becky =-.
You all, from your daughters and your husband, to your supporters and your fans, never fail to make me want to be a better person and to do more. Thank you.
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Pfffftwords =-.
Jacksonville Friends of Maddie raised $1,010.
We love you all!!
.-= Colleen´s last blog ..Once Upon a Birthday =-.
Mama Fuss says:
Is that Maddie’s Abby doll? Love that Annie marched with it. And I love that smile! Glad it was a good day for you all!
.-= Mama Fuss´s last blog ..Excuses, sure, but LIGHTNING BOLTS of pain here… =-.
Em & I were honored to be there for your sweet Maddie.
.-= Nanette´s last blog ..Ain’t nothing going to break my stride. Nobody’s going to slow me down =-.
I just can’t get over how beautiful Annie is! She’s changed so much in three months It’s amazing how fast she has grown.
We will be walking in our local March in honor of both our kids. Our daughter (2) was a 27 wk preemie who is now thriving, and our son (4wks old today!) who thanks to many many interventions made it full-term. Unfortunately at 36 wks they discovered he had a CHD. He spent his first 26 days in a children’s hospital and had a heart cath and heart surgery done during that time. I am so thankful for all the research that made his full-term pregnancy possible. If he had been a preemie, he most likely would not be here with us now.
Just like last year, my daughter will be wearing a purple hairbow in honor of Maddie.
.-= Lindsay´s last blog ..Let Sleeping Babies Lie =-.
Burgh Baby says:
The Pittsburgh team is just gearing up, since we don’t walk until next month. But, we haven’t forgotten Maddie. Not for one second.
.-= Burgh Baby´s last blog ..His Life is Just SO Horrible =-.
Wow! Wonderful to see all those people Marching for Maddie (& MoD)!
But the photos made me cry. Especially the last one w/Annie and also the one of the little boy looking down at Maddie’s picture on his daddy’s shirt.
.-= Mary´s last blog ..Ma Compagne Ininterrompu… =-.
Looks like you had a beautiful day. Love all the photos and the kids wearing Maddie t-shirts!
.-= Rebecca´s last blog ..One Hundred Miles =-.
I walked with my sister. I donated $35 the day of. Hard to fundraise or donate more as a college student, but donating a lil each time something MoD or Friends of Maddie comes up adds up I don’t neeeeed that junk food/lattes/etc. Feels better to give that money to a great cause.
I raised $800 in Maddie’s honor and thought of you guys all day yesterday during our March. Not a day passes that I don’t think of sweet Maddie and you, Mike and Annie. As I dressed my daughter in her Maddie t-shirt yesterday, I told her she was wearing a picture of Maddie. Her response (as she pointed to it) “A Maddie!”. I forced a smile through the tears.
My love to you all.
.-= Pocklock´s last blog ..And We Marched =-.
In the next to last picture, I was struck by how much Annie looks like Maddie. I have not really seen that connection before but that look, so Maddie.
Marti from Michigan says:
Fabulous pictures of your March for Babies (Maddie). There was March of Dimes donations being taken at a Family Fare grocery store in my area, and I donated a little something, and so now there is Maddie’s name on the MoD flyer in Wyoming, Michigan which is like 10 miles from where I live. YAY!!
Friends of Maddie (in Tampa)
Love you guys.
.-= Maria´s last blog ..living things =-.
We marched in Portland, OR and raised $355.00!
I proudly wore my shirt on Saturday and while running errands (wasn’t able to march) spread the word. I just received my Maddie bracelet in the mail today and can’t wait to wear it to work tomorrow. I can’t wait for Annie to know how much the world loved her sister and how her sister brought a lot of people together. I also can’t wait for Annie to learn she’s a little star too!
Mary Ann says:
I’m glad you had a great turnout – our walk is in May. My class is having a lemonade/bake sale for the walkers to raise a little extra. I love the picture of Maddie and Annie together, it tugs at your heart, but it’s so beautiful. They look so much alike, yet you can definately see their individual, unique qualities in the photo. Annie just keeps getting cuter every day – LOVE those cheeks!
$32 donated — in honor of Maddie and her little sister Annie — for a marcher in Austin, TX.
Heather….LOVE, LOVE the last picture of Annabel w/ Maddie… 2 gorgeous girls… XX
I marched with Team Maddie in Los Angeles on Saturday – that’s my leg on the right in the first shot of Miss Annie in the stroller. It was great to meet you after reading the blog for so long! And you and your friends were so funny and cool!
I have to admit that I choked up a couple of times during the march, looking at Annie with Maddie’s Abby Cadabby doll. I have so much admiration for you and Mike continuing to live and love after Maddie’s passing. Keep fighting the good fight, guys.
I have never commented but today had to. The March for Babies is quite simply the most amazing, moving, fantastic day. My niece is a preemie – 25 weeks and under 1 lb….she’s now 3 and is absolutely here today due to the amazing work of the MoD. I had the honour of walking in 2008 and 2009 in New Jersey with her team. This year my brother and his family have moved back to Canada but we walked yesterday in Nova Scotia – a virtual walk for her team. Over the last three years we have raised almost $20,000. The experience is humbling. Thank you for sharing your story and for the awareness you’ve raised about prematurity and the work of the MoD. It is truly inspiring.
The pictures are fantastic and Annie is too cute for words!
Loving the Maddie shirts, purple tutu, purple mohawk and purple shirts. And of course, I love Annie with Maddie's Abby Cadabby. This line got to me: "Someday, I hope that no little girls will have to grow up without their big sisters." ;o( I wish Maddie was here with you all. But you all will forever be connected to her. Forever.
.-= mythoughtsonthat´s last blog ..I Laugh Nearly Every Day =-.
Those photos are amazing! We raised $100 in the Leesburg, VA March for Maddie!
i raised $45.00 and will continue to walk in maddie’s honor! xoxoxoxo
I’ll have pictures of our march, but Maddie’s Mob in Colorado Springs, CO raised $300 and had a blast doing it.
.-= Kelley´s last blog ..A New Carrier =-.
Leslie A says:
Great pictures. It’s so wonderful you have so much support!
I love seeing Abby with Annabel.
We had our walk the past weekend in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and my Marchin’ for Maddie team raised $890. I was so proud of my team. I have to say I think they thought I was weird when they asked how I knew Maddie, but they got the point. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never met you, your story still fills my heart and they also understand that babies and families need our support.
I’ve seen that photo of Maddie many times, but this time seeing it on those tiny t-shirts brought me to tears.
I’m sure this happens all the time, but I’ve nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award.
.-= Noelle´s last blog ..If You’re Beautiful and You Know It Clap Your Hands =-.
Annie is a doll. What a nice moment for her and for your family and friends.
.-= damaris´s last blog ..Monday Moment =-.
Being even a teeny part of such a special day was a pleasure for my family. Thank you for sharing it with us. We send love to all the Spohrs, as usual – K
That one photo of Annie where her eyes are looking sideways? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her looking so much like Maddie as in that photo. Wow, definitely SISTERS, no doubt.
And that last photo, where Annie is next to Maddie’s photo? Well, that tugged at my heartstrings, of course. Just tugged away and choked me up.
I’m so happy to see so many who walked with you. I WISH so badly that I could have been there! Next time, for sure. I’ll be there wearing my purple.
.-= Katrina´s last blog ..Time Out! =-.
Awesome photos! The group shots are kind of a Where’s Waldo of my husband! Haha We had an AMAZING time at the walk. We were so honored to get to meet you and Annabel, and Maddie’s friends and family. We left that day feeling very humbled and grateful that there are phenomenal people like all of you in this world. We only wish we got to meet Maddie too – she is, and will always be, greatly missed.
Michael @badassdadblog says:
It was, once again, an honor walking with you.
.-= Michael @badassdadblog´s last blog ..why i run =-.
Or their big brothers.
I’ve been thinking about you. Lots. I know it sucks.
There is also a March of Dimes Maddie shoe in Charlotte, NC!
What a beautiful post, Heather.
.-= pgoodness´s last blog ..Her =-.
Sara @TomTheGirl says:
I read all of your posts, but this one made me cry. They were good tears though. Maddie is so so loved. I’m constantly amazed by the reach and effect her/your story and lives have had.
.-= Sara @TomTheGirl´s last blog .. =-.
What a wonderful way to honor your Maddie!
Annie looks a lot like Maddie in the picture with the Abby doll. I think it’s the mischievous eyes and grin. Sweet!
.-= Jenny´s last blog ..Friday’s Child =-.
We marched for Maddie. Our team wasn’t very big and we only were able to donate $20 but we did it. Me and my 2 oldest kids, Nick 9 and Kait 6. They talked about Madeline and Nick even made a wish on a dandelion for your family. I will post pictures on my blog as soon as I remember to upload them to the computer.
Next year I am hoping our team will be bigger and be able to donate more. Nick and Kait have already said they want to march every year for your Maddie and all babies that are born too early.
I marched this past Saturday as well. I do not post comments often, but you and your family were in my thoughts throughout the walk. Someday, I hope that your wish comes true!!! And, I know for a fact that this was Houston’s biggest fundraising year, so we are one step closer….
We are walking this Sunday and are closing in on $1700. I hope we hit $2,000. Your family will be deep in my heart and thoughts that day. I thought of you last Saturday as my daughter and I were flying to L.A. I wish we could have walked with you! I thought of you all throughout my trip. I’m glad the weather was good. What great pictures!
Our walk was today and we raised $2040! I proudly wore Maddie’s name on my shirt along with my daughter’s name (Bella) who was also a premie. We had a great time. On the drive home, I saw the most amazing Lilac bush in full bloom all by itself among many other plain green bushes…I smiled and thought of Maddie.
The light in Annies eyes warms my heart and soul like nothing before. My happiness and humility overflows daily for your family! I love you all even though we may be strangers!
Beautiful photos, hurray for a successful walk! I wasn’t able to join but I thought of you all for sure. Maybe next year I’ll be able to walk that far.
i just wanted to let you know i think about your sweet maddie often.
this post made me cry with all maddie’s little friends wearing her picture on their shirts. Annie is a dollbaby by the way.