The primary charity that I have chosen to support is the March of Dimes. Let me tell you why.
My niece, Austin Nicole Evans, was born on December 18, 2010. She was significantly premature but was a fighter from the start. She grew stronger every day in the NICU until she picked up RSV, which is a respiratory virus that is particularly devastating to very young children. Austin couldn’t recover from the illness and passed away on February 7, 2011 at seven weeks of age.
I was devastated. I was angry. I can’t remember ever feeling so helpless.
I can’t imagine what my sweet brother and sister-in-law experienced.
My nephew, Cash Parker Evans, was born even more prematurely than Austin. He was born on September 25, 2011 and passed away 9 days later. He looked exactly like Austin. He was an unbelievably tiny human being.
Again, what devastation. Their deaths felt to me like a physical assault. And looking at my own healthy child, it made the situation seem even more surreal.
What could I do? What could I do for my brother? He’s 22 months my junior and my polar opposite, which means we fought fiercely as children. Now his loyalty and generosity know no bounds.
Their doctors don’t know why Austin and Cash were born prematurely. The March of Dimes provides financial support to go towards researching health issues surrounding babies, including the causes of preterm labor. The best I can do for my brother is to support the March of Dimes.
Besides providing financial support to March of Dimes personally, I’ve initiated a benefit concert presented by Delta Omicron and the Newberry College Department of Music, where I am on faculty. It will take place on Sunday, April 1, 2012, at 3pm in the Recital Hall of the Alumni Music Center at Newberry College. Members of Delta Omicron will be performing, a representative from the South Carolina chapter of the March of Dimes will give a brief talk, and we will gratefully accept donations of any amount in memory of Austin and Cash. If you cannot attend the concert but would still like to donate, please send your contribution (payable to March of Dimes) to Dr. Tammy Evans Yonce, Newberry College Department of Music, 2100 College Street, Newberry, SC 29108. They will also accept donations online at www.marchofdimes.com.
Thank you for your support and for helping us get the word out.
UPDATE: We were thrilled to raise over $700 during this event. Of course, we will still happily accept donations at the following website: http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/t1855754. Thanks to all who donated!