The Warren County March of Dimes held a 'kick-off' luncheon at the Holiday Inn on Thursday as preparations begin for its annual March for Babies event.
That will be held at Betts Park on Sunday, April 27.
This year's Warren County March of Dimes ambassador family is Alicia Geiger and Mikael Wismar of Columbus. They described the role March of Dimes played in their son Ethan's premature birth.
Times Observer photo by Ben Klein
Alicia Geiger and Mikael Wismar are pictured with their son Ethan at the March of Dimes’ March for Babies kick-off luncheon on Thursday. Geiger and Wismar, along with Ethan and their five children Dylan, Raychel, Emma, Alyssa and Kierra are this year’s ambassador family for the March for Babies.
Alicia was five and a half months pregnant when Ethan was born weighing just one pound 10 ounces.
"Had it not been for the March of Dimes and what they've done, for all the equipment that physically saved his life, he wouldn't even be here. We're very proud to be the ambassador family this year," Alicia said.
Alicia described how she felt excessively tired, visited her doctor in Bradford and was admitted overnight at that hospital.
"My doctor came in and told me I was being shipped to DuBois (hospital) for better observation," she said.
She was scheduled for an emergency Cesarean section the next day.
"It was very scary...his hand was the size of my fingernail," she said, adding that Ethan is now 16 months old. "He's now doing very well."
Ethan stayed at the hospital until his due date and Mikael said the nurses at the hospital had started calling him "spunky."
"We named him Ethan, because Ethan means strong, and obviously he is very strong," Alicia said.
Community Director Brenda Zock said registration for March for Babies on Sunday, April 27 will begin at 10 a.m. and the walk will start at 11 a.m.
To register a team or make a donation, visit marchforbabies.org or contact Zock at 723-9206 for more information.
"The money that we're raising is to help those families that go through a very trying experience. Sometimes the outcome is tragic and doesn't have a happy ending," Zock said. "With my family it was very difficult, but fortunately even though our son was born at 31 weeks and only weighed three pounds, he had absolutely no health issues. So we were one of the lucky ones...but there are so many families out there and families sitting in this room that haven't had the same outcome."