MADISON (WKOW) – A non-profit that works to prevent pre-term birth is dealing with a funding crunch, but local families are stepping up.
March of Dimes is like many other organizations where funding is down because of the pandemic. The organization has experienced layoffs and is working harder to keep their programs going. So, fundraising is critical to the non-profit.
March of Dimes supports pregnant moms considered high-risk and those who go into pre-term labor, and helps families who experience a loss.
The Walkers are one of those families, who started fundraising for the March of Dimes in 2011 after losing their twin Boys Tyler and Ethan. Jen Walker went into pre-term labor and the twins did not survive.
“Tyler was born first. He was stillborn,” Jen says. “Forty-five minutes later his brother Ethan was born. Ethan lived for 45 minutes before he passed away.”
To cope with their grief, the Walkers have held celebrations honoring Tyler and Ethan’s birthday, raising $25,000 for the March of Dimes over the last decade.
That money helps March of Dimes with things like group pre-natal care. Dr. Meredith Cruz is on the March of Dimes board and will head up a program like that, called Supportive Pregnancy Care, at Froedtert Hospital.
“So moms can have the support of peers while going through pregnancy versus doing it alone,” Dr. Cruz says.
Dr. Cruz says the Supportive Pregnancy Care group will meet virtually for now because of the pandemic.
March of Dimes is also raising money for tablets at SSM Health in Madison so moms can connect with family or their babies who are in the NICU.
Jen says her family keeps fundraising because they know it can help prevent a loss for someone else. It’s been their way to deal with the grief of losing Tyler and Ethan.
“If I can’t care for my boys physically because they’re not here with me, I can do things and I can take action and I can care for other people in their memory,” Jen says.