Friday, April 20, 2012

A Night at the Pizza Ranch...

Finally, the blog has come back to the internets!!! Sorry, that was dramatic. It was the best I could come up with after not doing a post for two months.

As you all may know, the March for Babies is coming up next month, and we have been going all out with our fundraising efforts. Monday, we held one of this year’s larger events at the Pizza Ranch in Ames. What a wonderful opportunity Pizza Ranch provided us!  We would like to say thank you to everyone who came out to have some good pizza and support Team Kamps3. Angie and I tried very hard to visit with all who attended but inevitably missed some of you.  The event went well, and we raised over $1000 for the March of Dimes! A big thanks to Aaron and Blakely Mortvedt for doing the legwork to get the event set up. Also many thanks to Susie, Craig, Elizabeth, and Grandma Janet for bussing tables all night and earning those tips!

There was a lot of activity at the Pizza Ranch, but there were some very touching moments that really impacted us. We got to catch up with another triplet family we have met since the girls were born. It was good to see their girls, and  meet their little brother. And get this, their mom brought all four of them *by herself!*. Yeah, 4 kids, under three, all the way to Ames from Lohrville. Alone. Shannon Hobbs, I salute you. Your children are delightful and we hope to see you again soon!  We also had a very nice conversation with the manager of Pizza Ranch, who after hearing our story, generously donated out of his own pocket in addition to the business donation of 10% of the evenings sales.  I tell you what, Pizza Ranch truly is a wonderful business that supports its community and charitable organizations.  This is a fundraiser we hope to continue with for years to come.

We were completely blown away by the generosity of one particular customer. As we were approaching the end of our fundraiser, Angie’s aunt walked over and handed me $300 cash. I asked where it came from, and she told me it came from a dad of 9-year-old twins, who were 25 weekers. Angie and I went over to talk to him and learned he was from Minnesota, just passing through town. He’ll probably never see this, but thank you random customer, we can’t express our gratitude.  It is amazing to me how God orchestrated a random encounter that meant so much.  What are the odds that this gentleman would pass throw town of that very night and stop at that very restaurant and have so much in common…wow.  Very, very cool.

There is just under a month left until the walk, and there are still plenty of opportunities to donate to the March of Dimes. There is a bake sale at a vendor show in Nevada on Saturday, April 28th, as well as team t-shirts to purchase if you haven’t already (deadline is Monday, April 23. Information can be found on our facebook page, or by contacting Angie. There is also the matter of Angie’s facebook fundraising challenge. Her goal is to raise $3000 on her personal page. If she hits that, I will in fact be wearing a tutu the day of the walk. So if you want to see the manliest of men sporting the prettiest of pretties (there will be shorts underneath, nobody wants to see that), please visit her personal page to donate.

Thank you to all our team members that are working hard to raise donations for the March of Dimes!  We greatly appreciate you efforts.  If you have donated, please know we are incredibly grateful for your gift.  If you have yet to do so, there is still time to make a difference in the lives of sweet babies, I urge you to consider a gift.  Having gone through what our family has, every family I can help to avoid premature birth, is worth all the work we put into March of Dimes fundraising.

Things have been busy at our house even without all of the March of Dimes activities. We hit the Easter Egg hunt in Slater at the beginning of the month. I don’t know if the girls quite understood, but they each got a couple of pretty eggs, and were happy. Dad got some candy out of it, so he was happy too. We made it to church for the first time this year on Easter (we have had to miss during cold/flu season), then spent the day with family, hunting Easter eggs and chasing bubbles. Man, do we love bubbles at our house. I think we spent the entire day outside, I’ve never seen them so tired, but they sure did have a good time playing.

We do have some less exciting news. Brenna is going in for surgery on Monday, April 23rd. We visited our neurosurgeon in February to discuss Brenna and her MRI results. The scan showed two large cysts in the third and fourth ventricles of her brain which are making it difficult for her shunt to drain the extra fluid.  After consulting with several other top children’s hospitals, the surgeon has determined the best course of action is to revise her shunt to allow two catheters, joined by a Y-connector, to drain through her current device. The area of the brain that is being affected by the pressure this extra fluid is causing has a direct link to balance and coordination. The surgeon expects to see improvement in both areas for Brenna once the surgery is done and the shunt settings are tweaked to where they need to be. Hopefully, this will fix the issues Brenny has been having with her balance and gross motor skills. So please keep Brenna in your thoughts and prayers next week for an uneventful procedure and speedy recovery.  To say that we are burnt out on surgeries and complications from the girls’ premature delivery is a massive understatement.  This just goes to show that even once you’ve survived the rollercoaster in the NICU, the effects of premature birth do not go away, it will continue to be a battle we must face throughout their lives…this is what we hope to prevent for other families.

We look forward to getting out more now that RSV/flu season is officially over. Hopefully you can join us on May 12th for the March for Babies in Des Moines. We are going to try to update the blog a little more regularly this summer, but I emphasize try, and I make no guarantees, unless you want to watch toddlers while I type ;)…

Brad, Angie, Anna, Brenna, and Lucy Kamps

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why March of Dimes?

Two years ago, all we really knew about the March of Dimes was they were the organization who sent us pretty mailing labels around the holidays and asked for a small donation in return. After the last 18 months, we have a whole new appreciation for the March of Dimes and it's mission to ensure stonger, healthier babies. 

From early on in our pregnancy, we knew this was going to be an extraordinary journey; three little heartbeats on the ultrasound screen, a dream come true.  Little did we know at the time, the rollercoaster journey our family was set out to endure.  The pregnancy was difficult physically but there was nothing of special concern until my water broke unexpectedly at 25 weeks.  After 12 hours at Mercy Medical Center monitoring my condition, the labor was unable to be stopped in time and on September 1, 2010, our three little girls were born.  Annaliese Hope, Brenna Renee and Lucy Jane entered this world each weighing 1 pound, 8 ounces and were 12 inches long, they were smaller than a Beanie Baby. We were amazed at how very perfect they were, tiny, but absolutely perfect.  Our sweet little babies, while so very beautiful were also very frail and sick.  Each was in a fight for their life.  In total, the Kamps triplets endured seven surgeries, multiple infections, and too many blood transfusions to even count during their stay in the Mercy NICU.  We had numerous nights where it wasn’t clear they would see the next morning, but our angels are fighters and  Annaliese, Lucy and Brenna were able to come home after 77, 79 and 152 days respectively.  The girls are thriving today and are very active toddlers.  We are so proud of our trio!  We still are dealing with the lasting effects of their premature birth and it is not an easy road, but they are tough little girls!

We became involved with March of Dimes in 2011 to support their cause of prematurity awareness and research and also to celebrate the extraordinary lives of our little miracles. Without the medical research funded by the March of Dimes in recent years and the training and expertise of our wonderful neonatologists and nurses at Mercy, our story could have turned out very differently. Last year, our team consisted of 40+ friends and family members, and together we raised over $6200 for the March of Dimes. We would love to see each and every one of you again this year. Last year was a great year, and we are excited to try and top that this year. 

One of the ways we hope to accomplish our goal is to add some business sponsorships to Team Kamps^3.We are hoping to find numerous business sponsorships and one company to potentially match what we raise, but any contribution would be greatly appreciated.  If your business or company is interested in learning more about corporate sponsorship, please contact us for more information. You may also visit our March of Dimes team page, or visit us on Facebook for more of our story and information on personal donations and to learn more about our company sponsors.  All donations are 100% tax deductible, and will support the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

The following video was made by Grandma Sheryl for the girls' first birthday, and chronicles our NICU stay. As a family affected by premature birth, we truly feel the research funded by the March of Dimes is the reason we were able to bring all three of our girls home. We look forward to seeing all of you at Principal Park on May 12th for the March of Dimes March for Babies!!!