Thursday, April 09, 2009


I have tried to start this blog post so many times and ended up erasing the words I'd written. I don't know what to say. I guess I should just start with the facts. On April 7th a beautiful 17 month old baby girl died. Madeline Alice Spohr. Maddie.

I didn't know her personally, but it felt like I did. Her parents, Heather and Mike, both have blogs, and I was a regular reader. They are also on twitter where the interaction is fast paced at 140 characters or less. Through reading their blogs and chatting on twitter I felt like I knew them. I read all about Maddie's premature birth and the medical miracle that she was. Dr. Looove, oxygen rockets, liquid diets, developmental specialists, nutrition specialists, 1 1/2 pound weight gains...all of it was there for me to read and reread. Even though I didn't know Maddie I "knew" her.

I knew that she had a cough on Saturday. I knew that they were giving her oxygen at home on Sunday. I knew that she went to the doctor on Monday and was sent to the hospital. I read the tweets from Heather on Tuesday that mentioned the problems they were having with keeping an IV in. All of it was there for me to read. When I went to bed on Tuesday night I had no idea that Maddie's little body would give out later that night. It never crossed my mind. When I woke up Wednesday morning and signed into my reader I checked on Maddie first thing. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Maddie was gone. I was in shock. I still can't believe it.

The funny thing about the Spohr family is that it seems that everyone "knows" them. The internet was abuzz with the news of Maddie's passing. Maddie was even a top ten trend on all of Twitter most of the day Wednesday. Over 280 people from all over the world wrote blog posts as a tribute to sweet Maddie. People from all walks of life, people who didn't really know each other other than in this crazy blog/twitter/internet way rallied together in support of Heather and Mike and their families. And together, as a community, we grieved. Those who could organized food donations and March of Dimes donation pages and whatever else they could think of to help out. A blog was even set up to put it all in one place.

For the past two days I've tried to think of what I could do for Heather, Mike and Maddie. I wanted to do something that would count. Heather and Mike have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the March of Dimes in Maddie’s memory. Donation buttons for the March of Dimes are everywhere in Maddie's name. I decided that I could put one on my blog as well. But it didn't seem like enough to me. I wanted to do more. So I've decided to walk. On April 26 the March of Dimes is sponsoring a march for babies and I've signed up. I'm walking for Maddie. I'm walking for Heather and Mike. I'm walking because it is something I can do to make a difference. If you can I would love for you to sponsor me. Just click on the button below and it will take you to my March of Dimes page where you can sponsor me for as little or as much as you are able. I would love to surpass my goal.

A PayPal Account has also been set up to assist Heather and Mike with any upcoming expenses. You can donate by clicking the link below. All money received will go directly to them to be used at their discretion.

And finally a mailbox has been set up for Heather and Mike, so if you would like to send them anything, you can send it to:

Mike & Heather Spohr
11870 Santa Monica Blvd. #106-514
West Los Angeles, CA 90025

It is at a UPS Store, so they can accept packages as well.

I do want to say thank you to all my readers. It's times like these, when people rally together to help their "friends", that I am reminded why I love blogging and the internet so much. The friends I've made here mean a lot to me. I've come to count on you to make me laugh and bring me to tears. You get this blogging thing and why I need to do it. I love being part of your lives. I thank you for sharing in mine.


Unknown said...

Good going, Natalie. They'd love to know that you're walking for Maddie. Have fun on the 26th!

themaggers said...

I felt exactly the same way when I found out. If you could please upload pictures from your walk to http://www.flickr.com/groups/1042421@N24/

It's the group I created to show the Spohrs our love.

Mamadallama said...

Death is so difficult. And the death of a child is even more so. I had never heard of Maddie until today and I am so sad. The emotional support of the blogging community will be very helpful to Maddie's family and the more tangible support offered by people like you will lift their spirits even now, maybe especially now, when they are heartbroken.

Andrea said...

My heart is sad. This is actually the 3rd child/infant I have read about in the past few weeks that has died. The internet provides such an outreach-amazing. I will keep this family in my prayers-and you, as you do your walk! I did that walk in 8th grade. It was 35 km.....ugh. Do I ever remember that walk.

The Over-Thinker said...

Consider it done. You are such a wonderful blog-friend to do this. I shall send you virtual bandaids for your blisters.

Amazing Greis said...

Great post! I can't wait to meet you at the walk on the 26th.

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

I'm still in shock over the whole thing. I'm shocked at the outpouring of love from so many people that didn't know them in real life. I'm with you, I didn't know them, but I felt like I did at the same time. My heart breaks every time I think about it.

Jason, as himself said...

I don't think I've ever read Mike's or Heather's blogs, but I've seen Maddie's face all over the place this week. So sad and tragic. But they have an awesome group of blog friends that's for sure.

Natalie said...

headless mom - thanks! i will.

themaggers - sure thing!

mamadallama - i know. they have received unending support. it has been an amazing thing to see.

andrea - thanks!

over-thinker - thanks for your support. it means the world to me!

amazing greis - me too!

joe - i know. i know.

jason - it was such a sad thing. the support shown to them has been an amazing thing to witness.