Money raised for babies in need

Published 7:19 pm Saturday, April 22, 2017

A fundraiser for children had an impressive turnout on Saturday in downtown Suffolk.

The March of Dimes held a March for Babies at Constance Wharf Marina on Saturday. Approximately 150 to 200 people were there to walk in support of healthy babies, according to March of Dimes development specialist Patti Lusby.

“It surpassed expectation for us. We had a really good turnout,” Lusby said

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Children enjoyed “fun zones” for face painting, a bounce house and other activities. Oakland Elementary teacher Jodie Linkous volunteered to help provide the entertainment.

“I think every baby should have a chance, and the March of Dimes gives them that,” Linkous said.

Donations support the organization’s mission to reduce premature births, infant mortality and birth defects. Lusby said more than $31,000 had been raised so far, and more than $10,000 was raised by Hillpoint Elementary, John Yeates Middle, Creekside Elementary and Driver Elementary schools.

Hillpoint Elementary alone raised more than $6,000.

“That’s the most raised by a Suffolk Public School ever,” Lusby said.

A “memory garden” and “wishing tree” were located beside the event stage. Well-wishes were written for people who had lost children, while the garden had pots with paper butterflies.

Each butterfly had the name of a baby that had died from birth complications.

“It’s in memory of a baby that didn’t make it,” Lusby said.

The ambassador family for the event was the Carnegies. Aaron and Sandy Carnegie’s youngest son, Canaan, was born in January 2016. Doctors spent the first seven minutes of his life resuscitating him, and he spent 15 days in the CHKD neonatal intensive care unit to strengthen his lungs.

Canaan was rushed back to the hospital four weeks after Sandy and Aaron took him home. He was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit for acute hypothermia and had to be intubated when he stopped breathing.

He underwent eight procedures to expand his narrowing airway.

“We almost lost him a total of three times,” Sandy said. “It made him stronger.”

March of Dimes fundraising helps families like the Carnegies across the country by contributing to medical research and sharing their stories.

“It’s raising awareness for what these families go through,” Aaron said.

The organization’s Suffolk fundraising goal is $80,000 by the end of the year.

“I’m very confident we’ll hit our goal,” Lusby said.

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