Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friends of Maddie

Despite what my bitching may lead you to believe, I do have a heart buried under all of my vitriol, and a pretty soft one at that.

In April, I was saddened to hear that a friend of my best friend from high school had lost his seventeen month-old niece, who had been born prematurely and, as a result of scarring in her lungs, had succumbed to a sudden, fatal respiratory infection. I did some cursory internet research and found that his sister had a blog on which she had charted every bit of Maddie's life, from conception to her time in the NICU to her joyous homecoming and the subsequent year she spent on the planet, approximately 99% of the time with a huge, infectious grin on her elfin face. She has been blogging since Maddie's passing, too—heartwrenchingly honest accounts of how she and her husband are coping with their tragedy.

It wasn't hard to be moved by the life and death of this tiny miracle child who against all the odds she faced in her first few months seemed poised to grow into a strong and vibrant woman. I found myself checking Heather's blog every day, looking through her Flickr albums, and finding myself often near tears thinking about her pain, even though I've never met her. Which is why I urge you to check out Friends of Maddie, a foundation set up in Maddie's honor which will provide NICU Family Support Packs to the nursing staff of Level III NICU’s across the country which will be distributed, at their discretion, to families of children being admitted to the NICU for long term care; assist in finding temporary lodging for families who live beyond commuting distance of the NICU that is treating their child; and create a network of former NICU families who are willing to provide counseling and more to families currently in the NICU.

I defy you not to become entranced by this little girl and her incredible parents.

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