Liberty Tax

Liberty Tax

Last week we went to the Liberty Tax Service headquarters in Virginia Beach, VA for their March for Babies kickoff. They had a chili contest. There were more than 10 different kinds of chili. My mom liked the sweet one.

I had fun because I got to play with a lot of Lady Liberties. I even had my own Liberty Tax crown! There was an enormous balloon Lady Liberty outside. At first I was scared of it but then I wanted to play. Some VPs from Geico came over to participate in the program. They brought their gecco. I had fun playing with him too.

We also visited a Liberty Tax franchise in Virginia Beach and one near our home in Leesburg, Va. On Friday, they had a promotion where if you donated $50.00 to the March of Dimes, they would do your taxes for free.

Me and Bob

Me and Bob

First we visited Kmart and they had a very large cake with a picture of me and my story on it. I got to help cut it up.  My most fun thing to do was push the shopping cart around and say hi to all of the Kmart employees who are working so hard to see the little paper feet at the register.

Then we visited Bob’s Discount Furniture where I got to help shoot a March for Babies public awareness announcement with Bob and Cathy. In the front of the store there was a large fish pond. I liked watching the fish swim around.  I also had fun trying out some of Bob’s furniture. I especially liked the bunk beds.

Next we went to Cigna to say hi to everyone. I passed out my cards in the cafeteria. Then we had lunch with everyone.  Some employees brought their children.  I had fun playing with them. After that we went to Uconn Health Center where we toured the NICU. My parents spoke with one of the parents who had a preemie there.

The last thing we did was have a radio interview on 96.5 TIC-FM. My mom and dad talked about March forBabies and I got to play ball with a new friend.

Shopping at Kmart

Shopping at Kmart

 On the first day we were in Philadelphia, we visited Cigna and Health Partners. Cigna had a tea party for me with lemonade and animal crackers. I got a brand new stuffed monkey from Ed Hanway, Cigna’s CEO. He was very nice and likes to do a lot to support the March of Dimes. They are a leader in fundraising for March for Babies and have raised $22 million in the last 15 years.  Health Partners is also a longtime partner of the March of Dimes. They had a large green kangaroo at their March for Babies kickoff.  He was fun to play with.  For dinner, we went to Continental Restuarant. They participate in Philadelphia’s Signature Chef’s auction and have the best food!

Our second day in Philadelphia was busy too. In the morning we toured the NICU at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and were interviewed on the NBC 10! Show. They had an Irish band on too because it was St. Patrick’s Day. They were fun to watch.

Then we went to the Transportation, Building & Construction Luncheon. I met triplets, who were the ambassadors when they were little. Now they are 12. They told their story on stage in front of 800 people and did a great job. Their dad, Joe Valerio must be very proud.

After the luncheon we visited National March for Babies sponsors Kmart and Famous Footwear. At Kmart, I looked for some shorts. The ones that I liked were way too big. At Famous Footwear, I got to take inventory of shoes. That was fun!

Katelyn with Mr. Joe Wood

Katelyn with Mr. Joe Wood

Last week we went to St. Louis for the Famous Footwear kickoff. Famous Footwear is a National Sponsor of March for Babies.

Before the kickoff, my parents got up really early for an interview on KFTK talk radio. The host, Jaime Allman has a beautiful daughter who was born early. She is now 16 months old. I didn’t go to the interview. Our plane got in late the night before so my mom and dad let me sleep in.

The Famous Footwear Kickoff was held in the auditorium of Clayton High School. They had a gigantic beach ball. I was a little scared of it because it was so big. There were also mini March of Dimes footballs in honor of NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Smith. I played with the footballs while the adults listened to the program.

I met Jacki Smith and Joe Wood, President of Famous Footwear. He gave me some pretty new shoes. One pair are really sparkely.

After the kickoff, we visited the St. Louis County Police Department and met with Police Chief Colonel Jerry Lee. He gave me a new koala bear names Kiki. Everyone at the police department was so nice. They all support the March of Dimes. A clown was there too. She made me a balloon hat and gave me a big red nose.

Then we went to the Famous Footwear/Brown Shoes Headquarters. They have a gigantic shoe made out of normal size shoes right outside. I had my picture taken next to it.

We went home Thursday night. I was excited to go to school on Friday and tell all of my friends about my fun travels.

Next week we will be off to Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Providence Children's Museum

Providence Children's Museum

We had a very busy two days in Rhode Island. We visited Bank of America, Picerne Real Estate Group, Kmart, Texas Roadhouse Restaurant, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. At Texas Roadhouse, the staff did a country line dance for me. It was so neat to watch. We also attended a NICU Family Reunion at the Providence Children’s Museum. I wanted to play all night, but the museum had to close. My dad wanted to stay and play all night too.

On Wednesday, we attended March for Babies kickoffs at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Women and Infant’s Hospital, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, and Summer Infant. At Women & Infant’s Hospital, we met with Dr. James Padbury, Pediatrician in Chief who just received a $300,000 March of Dimes grant.

Wednesday evening we were off to the airport to fly to St. Louis MO.

New Castle County Police

New Castle County Police

In Delaware, we attended the Cigna and Air Liquide March for Babies kickoffs. Cigna’s goal is to raise $20,000 for March for Babies in 2009. They are working really hard to get there. Air Liquide’s goal is $50,000. They are going to get there by doing internal fundraisers, sponsorship and matching gifts. Both companies are doing so much for the March of Dimes. Thank you!

We also visited the New Castle County Police Headquarters. We took a tour of their brand new building and asked if they would support the March of Dimes. They said they would like to do whatever they can to help babies who were born early like me.

My friend Dina took me to the zoo to see the monkeys. Monkeys are my favorite animal. I saw one that looks just like my monkey Curious George. That was my favorite part of the day.

March for Babies

March for Babies

In Baltimore, we had dinner with all of my friends at the March of Dimes Maryland National Capital Area Chapter. They have known me since I was a baby. It was so nice to see everyone.

My parents spoke at the Baltimore, MD March for Babies kickoff. I went on stage for a minute, but spent the rest of the time playing with Alison outside. After the kickoff, I had my picture taken with a lot of the volunteers. That was fun. I got to meet the top teams and top walkers of 2008. I know they are working hard for 2009.

After the kickoff we toured the NICU of Franklin Square Hospital Center. I saw a baby who was born at 25 weeks just like me. All of the babies are being taken care of very well. After that, we visited a Kmart and a Susquehanna Bank.

I can’t wait to go back to Baltimore. I’ll be there for March for Babies on May 3!

Princess Katelyn

Princess Katelyn

We traveled to Houston, TX to attend the Continental Airlines March for Babies Kickoff. When we first got to Houston, we went to a family teams event. About 100 family teams gathered to watch the March of Dimes on Extreme Makeover Home Edition. The family who got a new home had a premature baby and also volunteer with the March of Dimes.

I always love going to Continental Airlines events because they are the official airlines sponsor of the National Ambassador Program and have been since 2006. At the kickoff, my parents spoke and I played with Susan, Terry, and Chris. After the kickoff, we went to visit Continental’s reservation center, where all the reservations are made. We walked around each department to thank everyone for supporting the March of Dimes, and working so hard to raise money. In the cafeteria, there was a giant person made entirely of balloons. At first I was scared, but once I checked him out it was okay.

When we got to the airport, Cheryl from Continental took us to the flight attendant lounge where they had a table decorated in princess and March of Dimes things. There were two beautiful princess dress for me to play dress up, and a yummy princess cake. They also had a bag full of fun activities for me to play with on the plane.

Cheryl also took us to the pilot lounge. We met the pilots who were going to be flying our plane home that evening. That was fun.

Thank you Continental!!! I can’t wait to see everyone again at the Houston March for Babies!!

Katelyn and Sentaor Madden

Katelyn and Sentaor Madden

We spent 5 days traveling all over New Jersey. We started off at the State House in Trenton for Lobby Day. We met with Senator Vitale and Senator Madden. I thanked them for supporting the March of Dimes. My family was recognized on the Senate floor and presented with a proclomation.

We also visited BAE Systems and some Kmart stores, including the Kmart that raises the most for the March of Dimes out of all the Kmarts in the state. Other companies we visited were Kearny Federal Savings, Citi, KPMG, PSE&G, Covance, Amerihealth and Johnson & Johnson. At Kearny Federal Savings, I signed a gigantic sneaker that has been signed by the last 5 National Ambassadors.

We also visited two schools – South Amboy Middle School and Carusi Middle School. The kids were so excited that we were there and asked really great questions about my story and the effects of premature birth. I had a lot of fun being in the schools and making new friends.

We went to Nassau Broadcasting and visited with WPST. They presented the March of Dimes with a $5,000 check. They had a contest where listeners could win a trip to Italy. Instead of taking the trip, the winner could have $5,000 donated to the March of Dimes. A wonderful nurse won the trip and instead of taking the trip she did have the money donated to help save babies. That was extremely generous of her.

We toured the NICU of the Atlanticare Regional Medical Center. There was a reception where a group of Brownies presented blankets that they made for the babies in the NICU. I had fun playing with the Bronwnie troop.

Our last stops were at the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office and the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office. We stopped in to say thank you for protecting babies. My dad even got on the news while we were in Atlantic County. He was interviewed about why we were in NJ and about the March of Dimes.

I had a busy and fun week in New Jerse!

Harley Davidson BiketownWe traveled around Northeast Ohio for 5 days. We did a lot while we were there. We visited 3 different hospitals – Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, and Aultman Hospital – and toured two NICUs. We also visited the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutors Office. Everyone we met there was so nice. They let me drive around in a mini Sheriff’s patrol car and made me an honorary Sheriff for the day.

The sweetest part of the visit was a tour of the Harry London Chocolate Factory. We tasted chocolates as soon as they were made directly off the conveyor belt. Bob, our tour guide and VP of Marketing was so enthusiastic and new so much about the factory. He gave us all bags of chocolate treats to take home. Most of the chocolate did make it home, but we had to sample it on the way.

My dad really liked going to an event at the Harley Davidson in Mahoning Valley. They are big supporters of the March of Dimes. I sat on a big motorcycle. At first I was scared but then I had a lot of fun. I also met Parrot Heads. They made me an honorary member. I even got my own stuffed parrot and hula skirt.

We also visited with National March for Babies sponsors Kmart and Farmers Insurance.

The last day we were in Ohio, we had a radio interview on the Bill Wills radio show. My monkey Steven and I talked into the microphone a little but my mom and dad did most of the interview. Bill Wills’ son was born premature 18 years ago and was one of the first babies to receive surfactant therapy; the same drug that helped to save my life – all because of the March of Dimes.