The March of Dimes works to reduce premature births around the globe and has had made an impact on one McPherson family.
Central Christian College of Kansas golf coach Kyle Moody and his wife, Summer, had just moved to McPherson and were expecting their third child when complications arose with the pregnancy. Summer Moody's water broke at 25 weeks and she was placed on bed rest at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Four weeks later, their son was born, weighing less than three pounds.
"He was struggling to breathe," Summer Moody said. "He just was not strong enough, even with the medicine they'd given me on bed rest, to strengthen his lungs and his nervous system."
The Moody's baby was not getting enough oxygen in his system and had pulmonary issues.
"For the first 24 hours, they told us he probably wasn't going to make it," Kyle Moody said. At 36 hours old, their son was flown to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where he was given nitric oxide, a procedure Kyle Moody said the March of Dimes organization had researched and funded to help babies breathe.
"Without nitric oxide, our son would not have made it," Kyle Moody said.
It only took 40 minutes of the nitric oxide therapy for there to be a noticeable difference in the baby's condition.
"He went from blue to pink," Summer Moody said. "They hooked him up to that medicine and he started reacting immediately."
Their child was not out of the woods, and would spend three months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, receiving blood transfusions.
"God gave him strength," Summer Moody said. “We named him Ezekiel because it means 'strengthened by God.’”
According to March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, nearly nine percent of babies born in Kansas in 2016 were born before reaching 37 weeks. Premature birth and the complications that go along with it are the leading cause of death for babies in the United States. Babies who do survive premature birth may have health problems like intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, blindness or hearing loss.
The March of Dimes works to research therapies to care for babies who are born early. The organization provides community engagement, education and advocacy for reducing premature births and support the families who go through having a child born before 37 weeks.
Central Christian College of Kansas' Phi Beta Lambda business club will host its fourth annual March of Dimes walk to support the organization's efforts.
"We'll have fundraising events for March of Dimes because Phi Beta Lambda has a partnership with March of Dimes. They've been partners for over 40 years," said senior Jody Bohnenblust, president of the Phi Beta Lambda business club.
Registration for the event is $15 and begins at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 28 at the Central Christian College Plaza, 1200 S. Maple. The first 40 registrants receive a free T-shirt.
"We wear our T-shirts to raise awareness," Bohnenblust said. "The March of Dimes shirts are purple, and I love purple, so I'm really excited for that."
The march starts at 10:30 a.m. and usually takes between 30 to 45 minutes.
"We basically make a big circle and come back here," Bohnenblust said.
A chili lunch is being added to this year's event. The lunch is provided by the college's cafeteria and is included with the registration fee.
"We're also going to have a photo booth with a Polaroid camera," Bohnenblust said.
A silent auction is another new element this year. Participants will be able to bid on items including gift cards and electronics that were donated for the cause.
"The community's been really great and generous," Bohnenblust said.
The Moodys said receiving assistance from individuals in their time of need was a blessing.
"Our church home, New Hope, and our school family at Central Christian and our family from Texas all pitched in and helped out in tons of ways," Summer Moody said.
"The community of McPherson just really rallied around us. That was really awesome," Kyle Moody agreed. "We had a lot of great support from people here in town that we didn't even know."
The Moodys will share their story at the March of Dimes event.
"Because of all of those fundraisers and things like that, we are forever indebted for Ezekiel's life," Summer Moody said.
The Moodys were warned that, because of their son's early struggles, he would probably experience health issues, but their son defied the odds.
"He is completely healthy," Summer Moody said. "He is the most ornery and loud and rambunctious little boy."
For more information about the March of Dimes walk at Central Christian College of Kansas, call 620-241-0723.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.