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March of Dimes kicks off campaign

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Madi Carlberg, 18 months, named ambassador baby

By Kelly Cantrall

As Madi Carlberg toddled around the room, it was clear her success story also was one for the 75 years of March of Dimes projects and research.

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The local campaign for March of Dimes began Sunday at the Historic State Theater with a kickoff event to explain the fundraising process and to introduce the 2013 Ambassador Family.

The local March for Babies is at 9 a.m. April 27 at Elizabethtown High School.

This is the 75th anniversary of March of Dimes, and the kickoff focused on the organization’s history and accomplishments. Founded by Franklin Roosevelt to combat polio, the organization since has taught the importance of folic acid for healthy babies and helped develop screenings for newborns.

Trey and Jami Carlberg are the parents of the ambassador baby, Madi. Madi was born at 32 weeks and stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for 34 days.

She needed oxygen therapy and, because of fluid around her heart and lungs, required a ventilator and chest tubes.

The Carlbergs’ other daughters, Lexi and Gabi, also were born early. Jami told the crowd she was hoping for a 39-week pregnancy with Madi.

Jami was “in shock and denial” when she went into labor early, she said.

The Carlbergs spoke of the feeling of not hearing Madi cry when she was born and not being able to hold her because she needed to be treated. Jami, a nurse at Hardin Memorial Hospital, this year’s sponsor for the event, said she felt she could have prevented Madi’s complications.

“I felt like I was to blame and felt guilty,” she said.

Madi, now 18 months, is developing normally. Jami and her family were nominated by HMH to be the ambassador family. She said she wanted to share her story because that was what she wanted while Madi was in the hospital.

“Throughout everything, I wanted someone who had been there,” she said.

The goal for this year’s March for Babies is $130,000, up from $100,000 raised last year. Alana Sharp, community director for the Ohio Valley Division, said she wanted to see the figure grow because of the anniversary.

“We know that it’s pretty lofty and steep,” Sharp said.

Teams interested in walking can sign up at marchforbabies.org and can begin raising money.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.