Carlene Anders, Gene Dowers and their children — Danny, 5, and Jessi, 12 — made a special trip to UW Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on Friday, Aug. 15. Anders and Dowers had recently completed a 500-mile rowing trip on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, a trek that doubled as a fundraising drive for the March of Dimes and UWMC’s NICU.
While at the medical center, the family delivered checks in the amount of $2,000 and met with leaders including Executive Director Stephen Zieniewicz, Dr. Dennis Mayock, Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology and NICU Nurse Manager Catherine Cordner.
Anders and Dowers’ son, Danny, was born in UWMC’s NICU on December 24, 2002, at 24 weeks and four days. He weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces, and he spent 115 days in the NICU. The family’s fundraising effort served as a thank you to UWMC, and several practitioners who attended the event stay in touch still with the family and remember taking care of him.
Getting their story out is one of the reasons why they decided to launch the fundraising event. Dowers said the couple took this very same trip right before they got married, as a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. Danny changed our choice of charities, said Dowers. “The impact of UWMC and the NICU has been huge in our lives. We are eternally grateful to the doctors and nurses and others that helped us keep Danny in our lives, and that just won’t change,” he said.