Carmel family serves as ambassadors for March of Dimes
By Mark Ambrogi
Stephanie Jenney and her family have a strong emotional tie to the March of Dimes.
The nonprofit’s mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
“We became involved with March of Dimes five years ago after our second son, Eli, passed away at 1 month of age due to premature complications,” Jenney said. “Since then we’ve been involved in fundraising and volunteering for March of Dimes to help babies all have a healthy start.”
Eli was born at 26 weeks and weighed one pound, 10 ounces. He died after developing necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that most often occurs in premature babies in which intestinal tissue becomes damaged and dies.
The Jenney family, from Carmel, is the 2017 March of Dimes Central Indiana Ambassador family.
Jenney’s husband, Jeff, came up with the idea and organized a dodgeball fundraising tournament at Heritage Christian School July 27. The event raised $7,141.17 for the March of Dimes. Three teams competed from Van Ausdall & Farrar, Inc., an Indianapolis technology company where Jeff is vice president and general manager.
“The main mission of the March of Dimes is to help prevent birth defects, help prevent premature births,” Jenney said. “So we’ve been doing this in Eli’s memory, to honor his short life on Earth with us.”
Jenney said medication likely helped her carry her third son, Justin, to full term. Justin will be 3 years old Aug. 12
“I believe that’s due to research that helped determine certain medication helps prevent prematurity,” Jenney said.
Her first son, Ethan, was born prematurely at 32 weeks (three pounds, 10 ounces).
“He has overcome complications and is now a healthy 7-year-old,” Jenney said.
There is a March of Babies Walk annually in June, and the Signature Chefs Auction is set for Nov. 2 in Indianapolis.
Jenney said the family wants to help make the Dodgeball fundraiser an annual event.