We here at Graham’s Foundation truly enjoy coordinating and holding fundraisers, but we’ve always tried to encourage our supporters to hold fundraisers of their own. Creating a fundraiser from the ground up isn’t easy, of course. But we’re here to help! Recently, we helped preemie parent Andrea Silva put together Miles for Miracles, a sponsorship-style fundraiser that will see Andrea running the Philadelphia Marathon in honor of her own extremely premature daughter and the preemies of donors.
Her goal? Inspired by Eliahna’s 1 lb. 3.7 oz. birthweight, Andrea’s goal is to raise $1,370 – enough to fund the distribution of 75 NICU care packages.
Here’s Andrea’s story:
At 18 weeks and 2 days of my pregnancy, I experienced preterm premature rupture of membranes, which occurs in less than 3% of pregnancies. Specialists said repeatedly that the outlook was grim, but I carried Eliahna to 23 weeks and 5 days before welcoming our miracle baby into the world.
Seeing Eliahna for the first time was something I will never forget. There were so many wires and tubes – they consumed her tiny body. Her skin was so thin and translucent my husband and I literally watched her teeny tiny heart beating through her skin.
It was four weeks before I could hold my daughter, but until that day I held her tiny hands and fingers, marveling at how strongly those fingers gripped my own. I was so scared the first time they put Eliahna on my chest for Kangaroo Care. Leaving the NICU after that day was hard after being able to hold her because I finally felt that bond I imagine most mothers feel within minutes of giving birth.
After 117 days in the NICU… two surgeries… three blood transfusions… and too many blood draws and x-rays to count, we walked nervously out of the NICU with our baby. And as the NICU doors closed behind us, the intensity of the first four months of Eliahna’s life and the sound of the alarms we’d listened to day in and day out began to fade. That wasn’t the end of scares or surgeries, but it was the important beginning of our transition home.
Today at 16 months of age (12 months adjusted), Eliahna is doing awesome. She is developmentally on track for her adjusted age and is completely off oxygen. She continues to show her drive and fight in everything she does. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I would do it all again. “You never know how strong you can be until being strong is the only choice you have.” This quote was shared with me during Eliahna’s NICU stay and quickly became my personal motto.
Eliahna has shown me how incredibly strong I am not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Now I want to pay it forward by doing something I love while honoring and remembering these tiny miracles along the way.
Andrea will be running to honor her daughter, Eliahna, and to raise funds for Graham’s Foundation on November 20 of this year. To contribute to Graham’s Foundation via this fundraiser, please visit the Miles for Miracles page. For more information on how you can attend one of our fundraising events or set up your own fundraiser, please visit our Support page.