I don’t usually put buttons up on my site—well, there was that one time I had an Amazon wishlist button, but let’s forget about that for a moment—not because I don’t care about people or causes, but because if I started with the buttons, my blog would quickly devolve into one big wall full of buttons. It would be the cyberspace version of that car that’s held together by bumper stickers, and let’s face it: we all hate that car. Even the guy driving that car hates that car. In fact, he would TOTALLY punch himself in the face if he wasn’t so busy affixing another “Bush-Cheney 1984” sticker to his rear windshield.
But for Maddie, I’ll make an exception.
I know that a lot of you don’t share my mommy blog fixation—which is probably a good thing, because at least two of you are teenagers and you REALLY shouldn’t be thinking about babies yet. Anyway. Because y’all probably don’t share my love affair with Dooce, Flotsam, or Moosh in Indy, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the beautiful, funny, adorable, and unfortunately famous Madeleine Alice Spohr. So I’m going to tell you what I know about her—which isn’t much, because I never met her. And by the time I’d heard of her, she was gone.
Maddie was born on November 11, 2007. She died on April 7 of this year. She spent the first 68 days of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because she was born very prematurely. Her lungs were scarred and she had to have supplemental oxygen, but she was, for the most part, a pretty healthy child. Her death was not at all expected. Her parents got a little over a year of her giggling, smiling, playful presence. It was not enough.
It’s never enough.
Maddie’s parents received an outpouring of donations to help with the cost of her memorial service (because seriously, who saves up for one of those?), and received more funds than they needed. They’ve used that money to start an organization called Friends of Maddie, which will provide support to families with babies in the NICU. This is such a great cause, not only because of the support families need while their babies are in the hospital, but also because recent studies have shown that parents of children who spent time in the NICU were very likely to develop PTSD. Friends of Maddie aims to “Create a network of former NICU families who are willing to provide counseling and more to families currently in the NICU.” Maybe if there’s a little more support, there will be a little less trauma.
I know that times are tough and that there are many worthy causes out there that deserve your time and your attention and the five bucks you have to spare; I’m not asking you to donate, because frankly, you probably need that money yourself. All I’m asking you to do is to keep Maddie, her family, and other families like hers in your thoughts. To share her story when it’s appropriate, and to mention her to someone who might be able to help.
Thanks, guys. I promise I’ll go back to being a total asshole tomorrow.