Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We Are All Connected

I know many people love to joke about the amount of time others spend on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook etc. But I really think these things can be used to do good for others. I've seen many examples of this since I've started using these sites, but last week, when a fellow mommy blogger's daughter passed away, I saw an outpouring of love and support I never thought possible for someone most of them had never met in person.

Heather and Mike, of The Spohrs are Multiplying, lost their beautiful 17 month old Maddie last week, after she was admitted to the hospital for respiratory problems. For many of us who followed Maddie's story since before she was born, this was so heartbreaking. We watched this child come into this world, weeks before she was ready, struggle to fight her way out of the NICU, and eventually blossom into a bright and beautiful child. I may have never met Heather, or Maddie, but because I had been reading her stories on her blog, I felt as though I knew her personally. Needless to say I cried as if she was one of my own when I learned of her passing.

I follow Heather on Twitter and reading what followed Maddie's death was so heartwarming. Thousands of people spread the message of her death, reached out to help Heather in so many ways it is unbelievable.

I think part of the reason I was so touched is that my own Boo spent ten days in the NICU after she was born. Unlike most of the other infants in the NICU with her, Boo was born eleven days late instead of weeks premature. She was what the nurses often called "the giant" of the NICU at 9 lbs 2 oz. Yet she was not breathing and had no heartbeat when she was born and had seizures shortly after she was revived. She was a fighter though, and made it out of the NICU after ten days. While she was in the hospital, my husband and I practically lived in that NICU with her, and had a chance to see many of the premature babies fighting for their lives. I saw how much the nurses and doctors had to do to help them live another day. I saw the celebrations that went on when one of them was able to go home, and the sadness when one of them did not make it. So I've always had a special place in my heart for children like Maddie.

Her funeral is today, 2:30 PST, and I can't help but wish I could be there in person to support her parents. I know that it is not possible, so I will honor sweet Maddie by turning my blog purple today, and for the rest of the month. I also put her button on my sidebar so that anyone who wants to read her story and make a donation to the March of Dimes can do so.

I also want to encourage everyone to put the internet to good use. Take the time to reach out to others and help those in need. There is so much negativity on the internet these days, in the news and in our world. I really think that we can use these "tools" to better our country and become more connected as people.

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