By Jennie Zeitler
It was a March of Dimes grieving packet placed in the hands of parents Aaron and Nicki Vogt of Sauk Centre, that led to the formation of Team Ivy Rose.
The Vogts’ second child, daughter Ivy Rose, was stillborn in March 2009.
“I was having a routine ultrasound at 32 1/2 weeks, and the technician could not find a heartbeat,” Nicki said.
“I found the March for Babies information and e-mailed friends while I was in labor about forming a team to honor the baby,” she said. “It was quite a loss for us. The team was a way to honor Ivy.”
This year’s march is Saturday, April 13, starting and finishing at the fieldhouse at St. Cloud State, said March of Dimes Community Director Marge Groseth. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
Most participants are part of a team, but people do not need to be part of a team to participate.
Team Ivy Rose first came together in April 2009, just weeks after Ivy Rose was stillborn. About 30 team members participated that year.
Although the team has shrunk a bit, there is a core group of about 10 who walk every year, with other people coming and going.
Siw Bieringer is one friend who has walked with the team each year.
“It all started as a support for Nicki,” Bieringer said. “It was important to help her in any way. Now, we want to help any baby, any family that has lost a baby.”
The mission of the March of Dimes is to help moms have full-term pregnancies and to research the problems that threaten babies’ health.
Team Ivy Rose has participated in St. Cloud’s march because it’s so close, but there are marches scheduled at 16 locations around Minnesota in 2013.
In 2011, the Vogts were the “Ambassador Family” in St. Cloud. An ambassador family shares their experiences to inspire others and raise awareness.
“My husband and I were able to tell our story to all who were present at the event, and my team was up on stage with me,” Nicki said. “We also led the walk.”
“I can’t say enough about Nicki, her family and her team,” said Groseth. “If we could give her the sun, moon and stars for what she’s done for us, we would.”
“Her team’s dedication and the things that they have done for the March of Dimes is nothing short of amazing,” Groseth said. “They have been our top family team for the St. Cloud march since 2009.”
Team Ivy Rose holds fundraisers every year to raise money in anticipation of the walk.
“During the first four years, we raised a total of $40,000,” said Nicki. “We get together to plan our huge garage sale fundraiser every year.”
This year, the team is also doing a 50-50 raffle. The tickets are $20, with half of the proceeds going to the raffle winner and the other half to the March of Dimes.
“We work really hard to reach our fundraising goal every year,” Nicki said.
Team Ivy Rose is also sponsoring Zumba classes. Zumba is a style of dancing which combines Latin and international music with a fun and effective workout system.
“There is an instructor on the team, and she will be doing three classes,” Bieringer said.
Classes will be held Saturday, March 30, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at Gerard’s in Sauk Centre.
Zumba Gold — a slower pace for those new to Zumba or for older people — will be taught from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Regular Zumba will be from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Zumba for children ages 4 – 12 will be from 2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
“The class cost is $10, every cent of which goes to the March of Dimes,” said Bieringer. “There will be sports massages for $5 and a free bounce house for kids.”
“We remember Ivy, but we know that we’ve helped other mothers and babies,” said Nicki. “The day of the walk is an emotional day, having worked so hard and seeing everyone come together for our daughter. It’s a small group, and everyone is so passionate.”
“The walk is really fun, and it’s also an emotional day,” Bieringer said. “We remember why we are there together, but it’s also a day of celebration.”
“It’s a way for us to do something for Ivy,” Nicki said. “Our three children are our world; this is how we can do something for Ivy too.”
For more information, call (320) 309-7532 or visit the team’s Web site at www.marchforbabies.org/team/ivyrose.