Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I have not posted in a long time. There are various reasons for that, most of which I will eventually blog about but mainly fall under my being very busy with work, dealing with my health issues, having family visit, and just life in general. I've tried to keep in touch a bit, through twitter, blog comments, e-mail and skype. I thank everyone who has cared about how I am doing and especially those who have checked up on me to make sure I am ok, I am (mostly) and I will be fine. I have not forgotten about you all nor this blog, I have many plans for it, unfortunately more plans than I have time at the moment but I will eventually get this blog back up off the ground. In the mean time you can browse my archives, I have a few decent posts mixed in there, if you haven't already and want a Microblogologist fix ;).

All that aside the true purpose of this post is to pay tribute to one very special little girl, Madeline Alice Spohr. This is a little girl who was born prematurely on 11/11/2007 (11 weeks and 1 day early), she passed away on 4/7/2009. In her short time on this planet she has touched a lot of people, in her death she has touched even more, both in person and on the internet. People from around the world have heard about this beautiful child who was taken from her family way too soon and in the week since she has passed away have donated thousands of dollars to her March of Dimes team. That money will go towards helping families with sick babies and towards research that will help prevent prematurity and find treatments for those babies who are born premature or with other conditions.

The March of Dimes was founded in response to the polio epidemic that claimed many lives in the US and around the world, they proposed that everyone could spare a dime to help find a cure/vaccine, and one of the most successful and long-lived charities was born and as a result polio has been eradicated from the US and most of the world (it is still an issue in some third world countries due to lack or resources, education, and anti-western sentiments in certain populations). Their current focus is now primarily on prematurity, both its prevention and treatment and research funded by the March of Dimes has greatly improved the chances of babies born prematurely and made it possible to save babies born extremely premature (about 23 weeks is the current minimum gestational age that is potentially viable outside the womb) and they are working on treatments that will help spare these micropremies from the high chance of disabilities associated with being born so early.

Maddie's amniotic sac broke early, when her mother was about 19 weeks pregnant, this resulted in Maddie's lungs not being able to develop properly. During gestation the fetus "breathes" amniotic fluid which aids in lung development and maturation. Maddie fell ill with a respiratory infection and her fragile lungs just couldn't keep up. Today, the 14th of April, a mother will speak at her baby's funeral. They have asked that people wear purple to celebrate Maddie's life and that instead of buying flowers that people donate to the March of Dimes. I have included the badge for Maddie's March of Dimes page, their original goal was $3000, since news got out about Maddie's passing they have earned over $25,000 in donations. That is simply amazing. If you would like to donate to Maddie's team simply click on the badge below, maybe we can help prevent another mother from speaking at her baby's funeral, because no parent should have to go through the hell that Maddie's parents are going through and every baby deserves a chance to live. Thank you to all who donate and to Maddie's parents for sharing their precious daughter with the world and reminding us what is most important.

Note: Please forgive any errors in this post, it was mostly written from memory and I've been trying not to cry while writing it, not an easy task (I simply cannot imagine what her parents are going through).


WeaselMomma said...

I'm glad to see you back posting again and for a good cause to boot. I am just sad that it has to be because of Maddie's families immense pain.

Melisa with one S said...

Great tribute.
The way that the folks on the internetz are pulling together is amazing to me.

The Microblogologist said...

WeaselMomma: I was hesitant to write this post mainly for that reason, I didn't plan to post until I had more time and less insanity, but seeing all the good coming from the online community I decided to help get the word out.

Melisa: I have seen it a few times, the internet/blogger community pulling together to help people in need, every time it amazes me and fills me with pride to be part of such a great community.

Scientific Chick said...

First, thanks for coming over to my blog and checking it out! I really appreciated it. I'm kind of new at this and I have much to learn. :)

As for your post, good for your for bringing up this worthy cause.

Also, glad to hear all is well. Grad school can be so... Well, you know. :)

The Microblogologist said...

Scientific Chick: Thank you, I try to help out when I can even if it is only using my blog to try and get the word out.

You are very welcome as to the visit and comments, I enjoyed reading your posts and am excited to find a fellow nerd in the biological sciences =). My best advice for you is to have fun and don't worry about the rest. If you feel like blogging about something that is not science I say go for it, too many people limit themselves and then it becomes a chore. Welcome to the blogosphere and the blogging community =)! (and grad school can definitely be insane!)

LiteralDan said...

I couldn't believe when I heard this, it's just so sad.

Under the circumstances, I'm at least glad to see the outpouring of support, emotionally as well as financially.

The Microblogologist said...

Dan: It is always devastating to read about a baby or child passing, even when you know it is coming (sadly several in my blog roll have lost babies). Nothing will ever make it better or right but it is inspiring to see the community rise up in support when something happens to one of our own. I am not sure how much the fund to help her parents has earned but over $28,000 for her MoD team is just amazing and you never know if that money goes to fund a project that results in a major breakthrough. Personally I'd like to see if go towards research into how we can improve the chances of a baby who, like Maddie, was born after a premature rupture of the amniotic sac.