Twins are this year’s ambassadors

By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com

February 10, 2014

GREENVILLE – The March of Dimes, March for Babies campaign for 2014 got kicked off last week at Wayne HealthCare with a number of local teams gathering to get their materials, and meet the 2014 Darke County Ambassador family.

Nine year old twins, Sylaris and Kalam Denney of Union City were born seven weeks early, suffering from jaundice; now, they’re adventurous, rambunctious, healthy girls, their mother, Shannie Denney said. They spent two weeks in an incubator, to be treated for their jaundice, and Sylaris, after being resuscitated immediately following birth, was on a breathing machine for her first 12 hours of life.

The ability to treat newborns is just one of the many benefits of the donations that March of Dimes uses to help improve the health of babies and mothers through research and education, Angelé Price, March of Dimes community director, shared.

Last year’s most successful campaign was run by Greenville Technology, Inc. (GTI), with the company’s president and CEO, Bill LaFramboise, co-chairing the event with this year’s sole chair, Shawn Daugherty.

“We’ve been really successful, fortunately,” said LaFramboise of his company’s fundraising for the March of Dimes. “It starts with a strong employee committee, and great communication…We’re not just asking people for money, we’re connecting people, we’re showing them where their money is going. We give it a real world application – they know these people.”

Shawn Daugherty will take the reigns after transitioning into the chair position with LaFramboise, but he said that Darke County’s generosity makes it an easier task.

“It’s going to be tough to meet this year’s goal with the bar set so high by Bill (LaFramboise), but I really believe in the cause, I believe the money is used efficiently, and it’s a really neat program,” Daugherty said. “As a society, we’re giving – people want to give back. And Darke County is one of the most community-oriented places I’ve ever lived.”

One of the area’s most successful family teams, Team Knapke, shared that having a great employer, and a great support system, is key to a successful fundraising effort. Kenneth Knapke began fundraising for the March of Dimes after his daughter lost her first child, he said, and now, his co-workers know he’s coming, and they’re ready with their donations.

This year’s March for Babies will take place at the Darke County Fairgrounds on April 26, rain or shine, and the goal has been raised from last year to $110,000. Last year’s total of $106,000 was record-breaking, Price said, but she’s confident Darke County can continue to support this worthy cause.