The 2016 Miracle Milk® Stroll has come and gone – and what a ride it was! When you host strolls across the continent, you’re going to get a wide variety of experiences. Our local coordinators are the lifeblood of the stroll, and were happy to share their stroll stories. The good, the bad, and the windy – this was 2016!
Royalty Stops By
Two strolls were attended by pageant winners. Miss Tennessee United States Blakely Bays joined us in Kingsport, TN. In Houston, TX, Mrs. United States Katie Garza not only joined the stroll – she gifted a custom MOBY wrap to a mom in a local NICU. Michelle Hickman, Director of Activism and Houston co-coordinator explained, “This mom had twins either yesterday or the day before, one boy and girl and they are in the NICU. The mom is going to be using the Moby to do kangaroo care, skin to skin, and wear the twins when she can. She was excited to get the Moby and is going to search the Internet on how to wrap twins! She will be using donor milk for her babies since her milk production isn’t quite enough for both babies just yet. She will be getting miracle milk from the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.”
Milk Pours In
In Evansville, IN, a strolling mom brought in a milk donation – 5,300 ounces!!!! Coordinator Amanda was over the moon. “I seriously cried! How selfless and beautiful is this mama’s heart!! I was so proud of her!”
Best for Babes posted a survey asking women if the Miracle Milk® Stroll had inspired them to donate human milk. Including the amazing donation in Indiana, women reported that almost 20,000 ounces of milk was donated in part because of the stroll. That will feed a lot of preterm babies and is one of our favorite stroll stories!
Tricky Mother Nature
One would think May would ensure calm weather, but not this year! Several strolls reported extreme weather, but that didn’t stop their spirit!
Chardon, OH: “The “real feel” temperature was 39F, the wind almost never stopped blowing and destroyed our hopes of a nice looking table display, the posters got all runny from ugly crying in the downpour, and the people in the photo were literally shaking with the cold.
The crowd shrank to a third of what I was expecting if we’d had good weather like on Friday. It warms my heart to think that these families were willing to tough it out with us! We had about 37 attending!
Our Stroll was minimized to a walk around the gazebo. Incredibly grateful for the WARM reception afterwards at Mother Rising.”
Fairfax, VA: “I joked that this was the “Extreme Miracle Milk Stroll.”
Northern Virginia has had the most bizarre weather lately: three straight weeks of rain. Finally, on Saturday, we had a break in the weather. The park was packed with people. Then, 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the walk, the weather turned. There were strong winds and heavy downpours. The storm didn’t stop until an hour after we concluded. Our “stroll” was a lap around the pavilion.
We had a small but loyal crowd from across Northern Virginia. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow advocates and raise awareness about the human milk cause.
It was certainly not what we were expecting, but it was memorable!”
Camp Pendleton, CA: 79+ attendees!!
Baton Rouge, LA: “Proud to report that we had about 50 participants in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! Moms, dads, kids from ages 0-17! We even had 3 physicians, 2 IBCLC’s, 2 CLC’s and several nurses!”
Bossier City, LA: “41 kids, 22 moms, 8 dads, 2 grandparents, 1 aunt, 1 supportive friend – 75 TOTAL!!”
Fayetteville, NC: “Moms/women: 22 (which consisted of 3 LLL Leaders, 6 Mom2Mom board members, 3 RNS, 1CLC, 1ALC, 1 Active Duty, 1 Reservist and the rest…supermoms). Children: 29. Dads/men: 6. Unborn babies: 1. Total in attendance today: 58 awesome people!!!”
Ventura, CA: “We had 60 participants, with speeches by a teenage breastfeeding advocate (coordinator’s 15 year old daughter Emma) and a LLL Leader (my Co-LLLL Marie Poulin) which added a fullness to the event which was much appreciated.”
The Heart of the Day
Portland, OR: “Our stroll went well here in Portland. Our guest speaker, Kari, a NEC Society member, and her husband Joe came out to share their heartbreaking story of losing their only daughter, Hope, to NEC after years of trying to get pregnant through IVF. She was their only baby. It was incredibly moving and it made this all worth it and then some! So moving! It was the first time that they had shared their experience in public. I hope it was healing for them.”
Berkeley, CA: Family members of Micah (the beautiful baby featured in our graphics and the inspiration for the original stroll) attended and gave a wonderful talk on being in the NICU.
Davenport, IA: The coordinators of the Davenport, IA stroll created a special video commemorating their stroll. It is absolutely beautiful!
Not all strolls had a happy ending. The stroll in Salem, OR, didn’t go quite as planned…
“Here’s how Salem went….
Photographer bailed the last minute. Total I had 6 people show, because the weather was awful (It was 86 yesterday, what happened???).
We were in the middle of talk about NEC and it’s how it’s important the spread the word. All of a sudden, a homeless woman sits down at the snack table. She starts talking about it all being lies. She was calling everyone bitches, saying we need to give our babies more than milk, asking if we stole them….
Needless to say we packed up rather quickly and the police were called because she would not stop.”
We applaud the hard work of all of our local coordinators. 2016 was amazing and we love all the stroll stories, but we can’t wait for 2017. We share the sentiment of our Salem coordinator, who didn’t let the setbacks of this year deter her from the cause:
“I’m already working on next year.”