HEALTH AND WELLNESS: March for BabiesThis month Jodi Hebl will walk with Joy for the March of Dimes. Hedl, and her 11-week-old daughter, Isla Joy, will be part of the March for Babies walk on March 20 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. The walk is the March of Dimes’ largest fundraiser and is held to raise money for the organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality.
This month Jodi Hebl will walk with Joy for the March of Dimes.
Hebl, and her 11-week-old daughter, Isla Joy, will be part of the March for Babies walk on March 20 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. The walk is the March of Dimes’ largest fundraiser and is held to raise money for the organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality.
Besides Isla Joy and Hebl, her husband, Kelly; son, Rally, and daughters, Shanel and Autumn, are part of the 2010 March of Dimes Ambassador Family. The family, who live in Grand Forks, will walk in honor of their son and baby brother, Cannon Bear Hebl, who died in November 2008.
During the birth of “Bear,” as the Hedls called their son, Jodi Hebl’s uterus ruptured and the placenta detached, which left Bear deprived of oxygen for 10 minutes. The deprivation resulted in developmental delays and health problems including an inability to suck and swallow. He died at age 9 months from the health complications that resulted from his difficult birth.
March of Dimes supporter
Jodi Hebl’s experience with caring for bear, who had special needs, and for Isla Joy, who was seven weeks pre-term, made her aware of the importance of the work of the March of Dimes. March of Dimes, founded in 1938, funds research, community service, education and advocacy programs that help save babies.
Cannon Bear spent about three weeks and Isla Joy spent 16 days in the Altru Health System neonatal intensive care unit benefitting from the medical advances that March of Dimes-supported research helped develop, Hedl said. She believes that advances in medical technology, including breathing equipment, helped saved Cannon Bear’s life when he was born.
“Without that Cannon wouldn’t have made it,” Hebl said. “Their research is just amazing.”
After her son died, Hebl wanted to do something to help other parents who had special needs children, so the following year when she heard March of Dimes was holding a walk, she signed up for it. Then, in July 2009, she formed a team to help raise money for the March of Dimes annual “Jail and Bail” event in Grand Forks.
When the March of Dimes officials running the Jail and Bail event heard Hebl’s story, they asked her if she and her family would be ambassadors for their organization.
Hedl, who, besides her personal experience, also works with pre-term babies at her job in infant therapy knows about the need for research to prevent pre-term births and that the need to help babies who are born prematurely, is ongoing. She’s proud that her family’s team, called Bear Huggers, in honor of Cannon Bear, will be part of the March of Dimes Walk for Babies.
“It’s saving lives every day. The more advanced our medicine can be, the more lives that can be saved.”
Warm-up for the March of Dimes Walk for Babies begins at 9 a.m. March 20. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. There will be a brief awards ceremony and luncheon after the walk. A similar walk will be held in Fargo on April 17. Information about the walks or to register is on the Web at: www.marchforbabies.org
Bailey writes for special features sections. Reach her at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to email@example.com.