Instead of the usual silly Friday video, I wanted to take the opportunity to share something important with all of you, something I did two years ago that I still can’t believe I was able to do. At the March of Dimes’ March for Babies event in 2009, Mike and I got up in front of over 10,000 people and spoke about why the March of Dimes is so important.
The March of Dimes has funded research that’s lead to countless strides in the fight against prematurity. Thanks to the discovery of surfactant, a lung lubricant, Madeline’s lungs were able to expand on the day she was born.
But it’s not enough. The March of Dimes got us almost seventeen months with Maddie. We wanted more. Every parent wants more, and every child DESERVES more.
I’m showing my speech from the 2009 March for Babies. Maddie had passed away only three weeks prior to the walk. I have a hard time watching it because I am transported back to that place of shock and grief. But I hope you will all watch it, and hear my words and my inflections and my pain, and donate a little bit of time or money to the March of Dimes so no other mother has to feel what I feel every day.
if you’d like to donate, you can click on the sponsor me button in my sidebar. If you want information about how to donate time, or join a walk, go to www.marchforbabies.org. And if you want to spread the word, please pass along this post. Use your voice for the babies who cannot.
I remember watching this speech like it was yesterday. You both are amazing, and so very, very strong.
“she came home and she lived and she made us so so happy…” she diddle us so so happy, thank you for sharing her with us.
She did make us so so happy. Damn I’m crying too hard to see my typos! xoxo
I was going to say just what Lisa said. Thank you for sharing you beautiful girls with us all. They are both such little beauties. I know I have read it here before, Maddie came here with a purpose. She has touched countless lives and mine is one of them.
Your speech is amazing, and such a tribute to your beautiful girl. We also donate to March of Dimes for our daughter, Olivia, who was born 8 years ago at 35 weeks. I had PPROM at 32 weeks, and I was able to keep her inside for 3 more weeks. I believe surfactant was a huge part of why she made it through her first night. She was born crying, but was bagged and wisked away to the NICU within minutes. Her lungs were not developed, she had pneumonia and an e coli infection bordering on sepsis. I thank God for the research that the March of Dimes has done to develop the life saving treatments that saved my daughter’s life that night and the many weeks that followed in the NICU.
When my dad died I spoke at his funeral. Everyone told me I didn’t have to. My friends told me not to do it because I wouldn’t be able to stand up in front of my family and his friends and say goodbye. When I read my little speech everyone told me how brave I was, but I was too sore to care. I did what I had to do. I didn’t feel brave at all.
You, Heather, are the bravest woman I think I’ve ever met (I’ve spoken to you on Twitter, does it count as having met you?). To be able to stand in front of all those people as doused in pain as you were, and re-open everything that was making you hurt so badly… you are amazing. You’re an inspiration. Through you, so many people know of your daughter and she has been able to do so much good. She has been able to touch the lives of thousands, if not millions of others. Keep on striving forward Heather. Your older girl is so proud of you, I know it… and Annie will be proud of you too, and proud of her big sister.
Heather, I totally agree with everything that Kirsten has said about you. You are an inspiration to all mothers. Thank you for sharing Maddie and Annie with all of us. Two beautiful girls!
I was so proud of you back in 2009 when I first saw this video of your speech and I”m still so proud of you. What you and Mike do for the March of Dimes in Maddie’s honor is inspirational and beautiful. I’ve proudly walked with you (from St. Louis, of course) these last two years and though I can’t walk this year since I”m in Australia I’ll be walking with you in spirit.
I proudly sponsored you for the walk because I love you guys and want to support you, but more importantly because I think the work the March of Dimes does is so important.
Best of luck in your walk next week and I hope many people either walk with you or support you in your efforts. Babies and parents all over the country will benefit.
I just watched your video after clicking on the link from twitter and I balled all the way through it. You and your husband are such strong, amazing people and I can tell just from your speech that Maddie was an amazing little girl. God bless you and your family.
Good luck this year, I’m happy to donate.
You and Mike both have a strength and courage that no one should ever have to find in themselves.
Keep fighting for her, you each other and for Annie.
Good luck on your march.
I don’t comment often, but I am amazed by your strength.
My roller derby team has a bout on May 6th, and $2 of every ticket sold is going to the March of Dimes.
Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
I always think of you and Maddie whenever I see the March of Dimes. To me, you have become the face of why that organization is important.
That was amazing. Thank you for sharing all parts of Maddie’s story with us.
I’ve been somewhat of a lurker here, but I wanted to say that I plan on posting a link to your blog on my blog today. My husband and I walk with March of Dimes in honor of our friends’ daughter and every year I think of you and your family while we walk. Your words are much more eloquent than mine and thank you for sharing them again so that others can know how important March of Dimes is.
You are so brave, that day and every day. Thank you for sharing Maddie with us. I will never forget her, thats a promise.
To me, your family *is* the face of the March of Dimes. I think of you all and Maddie daily, and of course I’ll donate and share. It is so, so important.
I wish that there had been more than seventeen months for you.
Trisha Vargas says:
I remember. Your strength inspires me.
Marching on April 30th in Orlando for my third straight year. I think about Maddie all the time, but especially on these walks with each step I take, I think about her the most.
(((HUGS))) to you all from Florida
You and Mike are so amazing! I remember watching this video when you first posted it. Tears streaming down my face…
You are so brave and strong and I’m so impressed that you were able to do and are able to do what you do. Maddie was lucky to have two parents as amazing as you.
I’m happy to donate some money for you – it’s the least I can do. Your blog inspires me everyday to never take anything for granted. You are making the world a better place in many, many ways. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Maddie with us.
I still can’t watch this without losing it. But you are right, it is a message that needs to be shared, over and over. March of Dimes does such wonderful things to help babies and I’m glad you are so dedicated to helping raise money and awareness for them.
It was a wonderful speech…even if it did make me cry the Ugly Cry. You are so very inspiring.
You and Mike are an inspiration to us all. Keep up the great work you’re doing for the March of Dimes, but most of all for Maddie.
What a wonderful speech. Maddie would be so proud of you for the work you all continue to do in her name.
Gale @ TDT says:
Heather – I walked on St. Louis’ March for Maddie team last year and really enjoyed it. I’m not walking this year (for a number of uninteresting reasons) so I really appreciate this reminder to donate instead. I’ll be making a donation to your team over the weekend, and I’m honored to do so.
Marnie * says:
You & Mike have done amazing things in Maddie’s honor. Thank you for sharing her with all of us. I will remember her always.
amazing speech, amazing parents. you two are brave..i’m honored to donate.
What a moving speech. Thank you for sharing. A few months ago March of Dimes was doing a fund raiser on the radio and I was driving so I had my older daughter call in and we donated. You were the inspiration to do that. Sorry that it doesn’t go toward your total here but please know you were responsible for educating me on the need for such donations. God bless you and your whole family.
Kristin (MamaKK922) says:
Amazing Speech. I wish there was more than Seventeen Months!! You two are so very brave.
An eloquent and moving tribute. Thank you for sharing your story of love to remind us to treasure our children daily.
I think I cried just as hard watching it this time as I did when I originally watched it. You and Mike are amazingly strong people and Maddie and Annie are so lucky to have you.
Barbi Brickley Emel says:
Beautiful Heather, you two are so strong even though I’m sure you have days that you don’t feel that way. Your children are very lucky to have the two of you as parents. Thanks for sharing the video. Hugs and I hope you have a fun Easter, Annie should love those eggs this year. Take Care!
Amazing. All four of you.
Heather & Mike,
Your beautiful Maddie obviously inherited her strength, courage, and beautiful heart from you two. You are such an inspiration and a true example of what a parent SHOULD be. You honor her memory every day by living as you do. Thank you for not only sharing the video, but for sharing your story and your daily lives. You both, and your beautiful girls, have touched my heart on numerous occasions bringing both tears to my eyes and smiles to my face.
You are amazing and beautiful. It’s easy to see why Maddie handled herself with such happiness and grace when she had you to model it for her.
That speech was beautiful then and now.
Expat Mom says:
Like everyone else, I cried watching that. I can’t believe you were so coherent during the speech, you are very brave.
Oh Heather, your video and hearing you tell your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing.
Every year, for Collin’s birthday, Chistmas, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, we donate to the March of Dimes in his name. I never got to walk before- last year it was because I was so pregnant I was afraid I’d go into labor- but this year we’re walking in Collin’s memory. I’ll be thinking of Maddie and your family while we walk.
You’re doing such good posting this. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to think back.
Wow. I do not get emotional very easily, and this speech gave me a giant lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes. I have been reading your blog since the day after Maddie died. I, of course, back read, and oh, her sweet face. Her smile and eyes that could light up everyone around her. She could light up ME, a random person on the internet. You guys are SO brave to give that speech 3 weeks after she died. I can hear the pain and grief in your voice, and I am amazed that you could even watch it at all. Thank you for your courageousness (is that a word? probably not) and bravery. When I get so mired down with my life, Maddie’s face pops in my brain. I don’t understand why life is so unfair to some people, and probably never will, but I love that you use your tragedy to further your work with March of Dimes.
You are always inspiring, Heather and Mike. I remember this video well. Keep up the amazing work!
Alexandra :) says:
When I read the words “silly Friday video” all I could think of was Rebecca Black. lmao. LOVE your silly Friday videos of Maddie and Annie!
Heather, is it true that the March of Dimes does abortion funding as well? This is the reason I’ve never donated…when I hear “so all babies can be born healthy,” it makes me wonder what is done with the babies who aren’t.
This is an honest question and if I’ve been given misinformation, I’d love to know.
We donated after Katrina and then a friend led me to some websites that supported the whole “funding of abortions” thing.
I looked into this after what you said. The upshot of it seems to be that part of the March of Dimes’ work goes towards funding in utero tests and research, such as amniocentesis, so that they can try to find out more about what causes prematurity. The reason pro-lifers object to this procedure (and therefore to the funding of and research into it by organisations such as March of Dimes) is because following these tests some parents choose to abort their unborn children if the test shows the child to have an abnormality.
Having found all of this out I will still continue to support the March of Dimes; it is everybody’s individual right to do as they wish with that information.
I remember hearing your speech 2 yrs ago and cried. Tonight, I cried again as I listened to the hurt in your voice and seeing Mike, try with all he had at the time to comfort you. Hard to believe some much time as past already.
As I watched you speak a 2nd time, my thoughts drifted back to that day and I’m sure my thoughts remained the same. I’m so PROUD of you Heather!! You have an iron will and b/c of you and Mike, none of us will ALWAYS REMEMBER, MISS and LOVE that little precious girl with the BIG blue eyes, the BEST smile in the world and the MOST contagious laughter!!! We love you Maddie….yesterday, now and for always!!! xoxox
Think of you all so very often!
P.S. We bought 2 of Maddie’s t-shirts and cannot wait for them to arrive so we can share her with everyone we know!!
I just wanted to let you know I knew very little about March of Dimes until I began reading your blog. Luckily my brother, cousins and I were all born full term so I had never known about the dangers posed to premature babies and all the work the march of dimes does. Since reading however, I have tried to donate and encourage everyone I know to donate as much as possible whenever possible. I’m sorry it had to be part of your life, but I just wanted to thank you for bringing my, and everyone else’s attention to this wonderful organization. Their work absolutely astounds me, as do people like yourselves who are so dedicated to the cause.
A family friend of ours daughter-in-law just gave birth to a baby girl last week at only 29 weeks. The baby was born at a little under 3 pounds. Less then one week after her birth, her health is looking up, she has gained weight, and is currently off all tubes, IV’s and major monitors. We’re all praying for her to get well, and I am grateful for everyone who donates and supports the march of dimes for babies like Maddie and our friends granddaughter.. Thank you.
Heather, Mike, Maddie, and Annie –
I have spoken to Heather a bit about this before but I sell Scentsy and at some point this year would like to have fundraiser for the March of Dimes where I would donate all my commissions (paltry as they are) to this wonderful organization.
In order to do that I need to talk with you and Aunt Becky at some point.
However, the point of this post is that I am having a small sale at my Scnetsy wesbite this weekend. If you spend over $20 I will send you a free fragrance bar of your choice. Rhere are plain purples one (that always make me think of Maddie) and also there are Autism Awareness ones where 100% of the proceeds to go “Autism Speaks.”
I would ask all of your readers to go check it out because soon we are going to have fumdraiser and help March of Dimes.
The website is mayer.scentsy.us.
If you have any questions you can email me at dorothy mayer (at) gmail dot come – you know without the spaces and all that.
That is the most amazing amazing speech. Thank you so much for sharing it. Just, wow.
I am in awe of your strength! You are an inspiration! Your family is always in my thoughts.
You are an inspiration, Heather.
Rumour Miller says:
All three of my girls were born before 36 weeks and spent their first few days of life outside my body in the NICU. My second daughter, 34 weeker, also was given surfactant for her lungs.
Thank you March of Dimes.
Thank you for sharing.
I cannot remember how I first heard about your blog when Madelyn passed away but I have followed your journey since. I am the ambassador family for Boston March of Dimes this year and I am sitting here crying at your speech. I also had pprom at 18 wks, hospitalized at 22wks and remained on my left side until 28 weeks when my twin boys were born. Zachary passed away shortly after birth and Jared remained in the NICU for 6 months. Trached and vent dependent until 19 months he is now a happy 7 1/2 year old. There are no words of course to make your pain of losing a child any easier. It is evident that your daughter Annie has given you the light you needed to smile again and I admire your dedication to the MOD. We have been a volunteer since 2005 and I feel, as you do, its an organization that is so near and dear to my heart.
Thank you for sharing your journey
I watched this three years ago and remembered thinking that you are the bravest person I know for being able to do this. I still think that.
I can’t believe you did that, either. I’m sending you a great, big, enormous hug right now.
Thank you Heather, for your strength and courage. As a fellow bereaved parent and former Ambassador for the March for Babies, sharing your story- as painful as it may be- is so inspiring to others. MAddie is the most precious creature I have seen, and although my heart shatters with hearing your story, and relives some of my own pain, I truly believe that each time you say her name and share her life with someone she will grow stronger in your heart and in your family’s thread and essence until you can be together again onm the other side. Your fundraising efforts-and team size, WOW!- are truly inspiring, and although 1,000 miles apart, we are members of a club together. Thank you for sharing your incredibly beautiful Maddie with us all!