Maddie Fogle of Defiance didn’t know that she would become a “Miracle” child when she was born on May 14, 2009, but her parents, Ben and Valerie Fogle of Defiance, couldn’t be happier that she did.

To honor Fogle, and past, present and future “Miracle” children who have been or will be helped by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH), the Student Lighthouse Team at Holy Cross Catholic School in Defiance organized a school-wide fundraiser to raise $2,000 to donate to Mercy Defiance Hospital by the end of the school year.

Fogle, a fourth-grader at Holy Cross and a Student Lighthouse Team member, shared her story to everyone at school about becoming a “Miracle” child, and about the loss of her twin brother, Ethan, who passed away June 6, 2009. That’s when the Student Lighthouse Team decided that as a school, Holy Cross would try to raise the $2,000 for children who are served by CMNH.

“I felt really great when I heard we (the Student Lighthouse Team) were going to raise money,” said Maddie. “My friends were really happy and surprised when I told them about being a ‘Miracle’ child. I was really nervous (to share my story) ... it was in front of the whole school. I shared my story because it was the right thing to do.”

Maddie’s mother, Valerie, explained that Maddie and Ethan were born prematurely at 32 weeks (eight weeks early). Maddie was born at 4:01 p.m., weighing 4 pounds, 1 ounce, and Ethan was born at 4:03 p.m., weighing 2 pounds, 15 ounces. The biggest challenges for the children were to learn how to suck, swallow and breathe, which are normally developed the last eight weeks of pregnancy.

“Maddie was definitely the healthier of the two,” said Valerie. “When Maddie would take a bottle, she would stop breathing, because she didn’t know how to suck, so she was put on a feeding tube. She had a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help her breathe her first week.

“Ethan had quite a few different anomalies, and he was sent by LifeFlight to U of M (Medical Center) on June 5, and he passed away in the early morning hours of June 6,” continued Valerie. “We found out when doing Ethan’s autopsy, the doctors thought we were going to lose Maddie in the first 24 hours.

“The doctors said they couldn’t get her stable, and they thought she would pass away. She truly is, in all sense of the word, a ‘Miracle’ child,” added Valerie.

Maddie stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) the first seven weeks of her life, before coming home on Father’s Day, June 21, 2009. She was on a monitor that would go off if she would stop breathing, which happened a couple of times, but she weathered each storm and grew stronger from there.

The Fogle family laid Ethan to rest on June 22, 2009.

“Maddie is incredibly healthy, she was cleared by all of her specialists after her first year of life, and since the beginning, we’ve been connected to the Children’s Miracle Network,” said Valerie. “Maddie was an Ambassador Baby for one of the March for Babies in Toledo, and she was one of the ‘Miracle’ children for Children’s Miracle Network. We’ve been interviewed by the Toledo (TV) news stations, and on the radio, to help raise funds for the cause.”

The Fogle family, which also includes Maddie’s brothers, Chase (a senior at Ayersville High School) and Evan (a second-grader at Holy Cross), also has taken part in Children’s Miracle Network Dance-a-Thons at Bowling Green State University and Defiance College to help raise funds. The money raised, explained Valerie, helps CMNH buy equipment to help save the lives of the most vulnerable children.

“If it wasn’t for Children’s Miracle Network, Ethan may not have lived as long as he did, and Maddie might not be here right now,” said Valerie.

In order to reach its goal of raising $2,000 to donate to CMNH, the Student Lighthouse team came up with several ideas.

Some of those ideas include: collecting donation pledges; donating $12 for a “jeans pass” so that he/she can wear jeans to school the rest of year; donating money for posters; holding weekly raffles for a drone, gift baskets and candy baskets; and selling popcorn and drinks during field day on May 24.

At present, $800 has been raised toward the $2,000 goal.

“During field day we’re going to go to the splash pad, we’re going to have games and a bouncy house, and we’re going to play boats and submarines and baseball,” said Maddie. “Whoever raises the most money for Children’s Miracle Network will get to have the bouncy house to themselves and get a popsicle.”

Said Ben: “This is special to us, because it’s all about celebrating Maddie’s life, and remembering Ethan’s life. After spending 42 days in the NICU, when you see what Children’s Miracle Network does for these kids and the families there, it truly is amazing.”

Added Valerie: “I think it’s incredible that this school would champion Maddie’s cause, something so near and dear to us, and something that saved her life. You just don’t find that at every school. We’re very thankful for everything everyone here at Holy Cross is doing for this.”

Valerie shared that although Ethan is gone, he’s still very much a part of the Fogle family.

“Ethan has always been part of our family, we talk about him, celebrate his life and mourn his death ... we remember him and love him every day,” said Valerie. “We have great hope and great faith in the fact that we will see him again. That faith saves us on a daily basis as parents.”

To donate toward the $2,000 goal at Holy Cross, call 419-784-2021, or go to defianceholycross.org. To learn more about Children’s Miracle Network, go to childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org.

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