White House Visit with President Obama

Greetings once again from The District!!!!

This was my seventh visit to Washington D.C. and, as usual, it was FABULOUS! Of all of my visits to D.C., this one was, by far, the ABSOLUTE BEST because on February 7th we went to The White House to meet President Obama in The Oval Office. All March of Dimes National Ambassadors have met the President of the United States dating back to FDR, who founded the March of Dimes, and now I am among that very elite group.

President Obama was so nice to us and he welcomed us into The Oval Office like we were family. My little sister Erin and little brother Corbin also got to go into The Oval Office and while we were in there, Corbin went behind President Obama’s desk and picked up his telephone. It was so funny to everyone and the President didn’t mind at all – how cool was that?

During our visit, President Obama talked with us and thanked us for all of the great things we have done with the March of Dimes. Not only was he very nice and so easy to talk to, he even had gifts for us which was very special. One of the gifts was a pocket sized version of the Constitution, which he autographed to me personally and signed Dream Big Dreams, and another was a special Presidential coin that only certain people can get from him. There were several other gifts that we received, but those two were the most meaningful to me. My mom took the gifts for safe keeping so that my sister and I wouldn’t lose or break them – very smart on her part. We also took lots of pictures with him and he signed my National Ambassador card as well.

This will be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life and I am sure that my mom and dad will too. Perhaps the most important part of the visit for my parents was being able to personally thank President Obama for being such an awesome President, especially since they voted for him in 2008 and will vote for him again this year. I don’t think my sister and brother will remember what happened on February 7th, but one day they will appreciate that they got to meet the President in his very special office. Thank you so much March of Dimes, White House staff and President Obama for making this one of the most memorable days of my life – I am such a blessed little girl!

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Signature Chefs Auction – Washington, D.C.

Greetings Again from “The District”!

This was my sixth visit to Washington, D.C. as the National Ambassador and, I must say, I just LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! On Wednesday, November 16th, I flew to D.C. with my mom to attend the Signature Chefs Auction held at the Washington D.C. Ritz Carlton. Before the event, we attend a VIP Reception at the beautiful Guarisco Art gallery. During the reception, I walked around and viewed the most lovely oil paitings with my mom. I don’t really know a lot about art, but my mom does. She told me that the artwork was very expensive and we even saw a piece that costs $625,000 – WOW! I met and talked to lot of people at the reception, and they were all so nice to me and my mom.

After the reception, we went down to the Ballroom where they had all of the food. The food smelled and tasted so good that I went back a few times – and so did my mom! All of the best Chefs from around Washington D.C. came together to let the attendees taste their food and everyone seemed pretty excited about it. I also saw Chef Rock again, he knows my dad, and my mom got to meet him for the first time. My mom’s favorite item were the pan-seared scallops – she got like 10 of them, seriously, and I liked the brownies. After everyone ate the delicious food, they had the Live Auction. It is always fun to watch the auctioneer during the bidding because they talk so fast. There were some really great items and experiences available to bid on, and the March of Dimes made a lot of money from people’s generosity. People were bidding like crazy and competing to win those great prizes, which really made this Live Auction the BEST one I’ve seen – Hands Down! One of the most popular things that made a lot of money was a dinner for 12 people to be cooked by Chef Walter Scheib. Chef Scheib was the Executive Chef for President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, so that means he can really cook. After the event, Chef Walter Scheib came up to my mom and spoke with her and gave her one of his business cards. He told her that he truly loves supporting the March of Dimes and looks forward to this event every year – how very nice of him!

During a break in the Live Auction, our video was shown and afterwards my mom and I went up on stage to speak to the crowd. Before we even spoke, everyone stood up and clapped and cheered for us, which meant a lot to my mom. My mom really, really, really likes D.C. and told the crowd that they were going to make her consider relocating there – which made everyone cheer even more. My mom also told everyone that attended that they felt more like family then guests and everyone appreciated her saying that so much. During Fund the Mission, everyone was really generous and gave the March of Dimes lots of money to help sick and premature babies. I don’t know how much money the event raised in total, but I am most sure it was a lot. After the event, tons of people came up to my mom and spoke to her about their experiences, told us how great we were on stage and one lady even told my mom she should run for public office. That is the second time someone told my mom that in less than a month – Nikki Fleming for President in 2016!

By far, the most fabulous part of the night for my mom were those delicious red velvet cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes. She ate four at our table and then took nine home with us. She even found out that they deliver so there is no escape for her. She is going to have to do some serious working out to burn off all those cupcake calories!!!

There are no words to describe the love I have for Washington D.C. and the times we’ve had together – The AMCHP Conference/Mini March for Babies Walk in the beautiful Woodley Neighborhood, The White House Easter Egg Roll, The U.S. Congressional Gourmet Gala, The MLK Monument Dedication, The National Volunteer Leadership Conference, The Signature Chefs Auction – and, hopefully soon, our visit to The White House! Our beautiful Nation’s Capital – Thank You for yet another most fabulous, memorable time! Much, Much, Much Love!

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Signature Chefs Auction – Chapel Hill, NC

Greetings from Tar Heel Country!

On Sunday, November 13th, my family and I went to Chapel Hill, NC for their annual Signature Chefs Auction held at the beautiful Carolina Club on Chapel Hill’s campus. The event was really nice and the food was delicious. The best thing about this event was that people got to buy these really cool flashing rings for a contest to win a Diamond necklace. I didn’t buy a ring (well I didn’t have $20 for one), but a nice lady gave me and my sister one after the contest was over. There was a lady there that bought a ring to go on all ten of her fingers and guess what – she was the one that won the necklace – smart lady!

Our video was shown and then me and my parents went on stage to speak afterwards. My mom cried after watching the video, as usual, and she and my dad thanked everyone for coming and supporting the March of Dimes. After my parents spoke, I got to say my speech and everyone gave me a standing ovation. My mom did such a great job speaking, that the Emcee told her she should run for public office – NICE! The Live Auction was really fun to watch and there were great prizes that people were trying to win. After the Live Auction, they did Fund The Mission and people were extremely generous to the March of Dimes Mission – SUPERB! The event was very successful and it raised over $103,000…WOW! It was so nice to be a part of such a wonderful event in my home state. After the event was over, and my mom and dad talked to like a million people, we headed back home to Charlotte. I had such a great time – Thank You Chapel Hill for showing us the LOVE!

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Harvest Ball – Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey

Greetings Again from the Garden State!

We had our Signature Chefs Auction last night in Charlotte and the next day we had a very early flight to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey for their annual Harvest Ball. My entire family was en route to the airport by 4:00am for our 6:25am flight…whew! I love being able to travel with my whole family because it makes everything much more fun.

The Harvest Ball was such a beautiful event and the food was absolutely delicious. I walked around and introduced myself to lots of people, and they all were so happy to meet or see me again. They showed our video and then me and my parents got to go on stage and speak to the guests before the Live Auction and Fund The Mission. While on stage, we also got to thank Mr. Bisaro – the President from Watson Pharmaceuticals (a company that makes a gel that helps women to have full-term babies). He and his company also raise a lot of money for the March of Dimes, and he made sure to say hello to me after I spoke on stage – how cool!

Since it was the Harvest Ball we did a whole lot of dancing, too, and that made the event even better! My mom and dad danced with me for hours, and the singer from the band even came off of the stage and sang “You’re a Firework” to me. Everyone made a circle around me while she sang to me and they all clapped and cheered for me. This made my mom cry because she felt so good about all of the love that everyone was showing me.

I had such a wonderful time in New Jersey and I will always treasure the time I had at the Harvest Ball and earlier this year. I still wear my Jersey Girl shirt that I was given during our visit in March/April and I think I might be a Jersey Girl at heart because everytime I’ve gone to New Jersey I had such a wonderful time! Thank you New Jersey for inviting me and my family to your lovely state to attend the Harvest Ball and for making me an Honorary Joyzee Girl! Much Love!!!!

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Signature Chefs Auction – Charlotte, NC

Greetings Everyone!

Well, my National Ambassador year is winding down, which means it is time for the Signature Chefs Auctions to occur around the country. These events are a lot of fun while also raising money for the March of Dimes at the same time. Top Chefs from all over a particular city gather to showcase their premier dishes and guests get to sample their food.

On November 3rd, my family and I attended the Signature Chefs Auction here in our own city of Charlotte at the Carmel Country Club. My very first Neonatologist from the NICU (Dr. Hickey) and Pediatrician (Dr. Williams) were both there to support me and my parents and that meant a lot to us. My parents and I spoke on stage after they then had the Live Auction. We couldn’t stay long because it was late and we had an early flight to New Jersey the next morning to attend the Harvest Ball – and I am so excited about going to that. This was my parents fourth year attending the Charlotte Signature Chefs Auction, but I am sure it won’t be their last!

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National Volunteer Leadership Conference – Washington, D.C.

Greetings once again from our Nation’s Capital!

At the end of October my family and I returned to Washington D.C. for the March of Dimes’ National Volunteer Leadership Conference. I’ve been to “The District” a lot this year, but each time is always as amazing as the time before. On Thursday, October 20th, I spoke with my mom and dad in front of a huge group of dedicated March of Dimes volunteers who were going to do something called Lobbying. Lobbying is a really BIG deal because it gives people the opportunity to talk to Senators about passing laws that the March of Dimes believes will assist in saving and helping more babies in the United States. After we spoke, Senator Kay Hagen from North Carolina spoke – YAY, and then I got to take a picture with her! It was really cool, especially since she is from North Carolina, like me, and my parents voted for her! After that, we went to Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts’ office and spoke with him. Senator Brown was very nice and supportive of us and also talked about his long history of community service. He also introduced everyone to his cute little dog and, believe it or not, I wasn’t even scared of it!

That same night, my whole family went to the beautiful Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the 2012 March for Babies Kickoff! I saw Ms. Phylicia Rashad again, which was so nice for me and my parents, and she Emceed the awards ceremony – my mom REALLY admires her! A lot of top volunteers attended and spoke, and a lot of awards were given out. It was so nice to see all of the people who care so much about helping babies, and to see the March of Dimes say thank you to them. I know the March of Dimes must really appreciate all of the hard work that volunteers like me and my family do because my mom always taught me to say thank you when someone helps you, so I know the March of Dimes cares A LOT about its volunteers.

The next morning was really exciting because my mom was a part of the official National Partnership Agreement signing between the March of Dimes and Jack and Jill of America, Inc. My mom is a proud member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. so it was so nice for her to be able to see two organizations that she really loves working together for stronger, healthier babies. I know she was very proud to be there, and she did a lot of hard work to get the groups there and I’m sure they were all glad she was there too!

At lunch I met the 2012 National Ambassador, Kieran, and we sat next to each other and ate cookies. I think Kieran is so adorable and he is going to be a great National Ambassador, just like I have been. Our video was played and my then dad spoke. Then my mom spoke and made everyone cry, but surprisingly, she didn’t cry this time. And then for the Coup de Grace, I spoke and everyone gave me a standing ovation, but please know that I’m not star-struck (smile). Then we invited Kieran and his parents on stage and I gave him a really cool backpack to help him with all of his travels – because he will be traveling A LOT!

This was my second National Volunteer Leadership Conference with the March of Dimes, but it certainly won’t be my last! I’ll always be involved with the March of Dimes because the March of Dimes has always been involved with me. I have been so honored to serve in the “role of a lifetime” and I will never forget the experiences I have had and people I’ve met. This has truly been a gift for me and my family and we are so thankful to the March of Dimes for trusting us to represent them this year. Love you Lots and Lots March of Dimes!

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MLK Memorial Dedication – Washington, D.C.

Greetings Everyone – Its been a long time!

I had an absolutely fabulous summer after such a busy March for Babies season. One really great thing that happened at the end of the summer, was that my whole family and I got to go to Washington D.C. for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication Ceremony the last week of August. Dr. King was a very influential man and he shaped the history of the United States. It was a great honor for us to be invited to attend his memorial dedication and to celebrate such a powerful legacy. The ceremony was sponsored mostly by none other than my dad’s fraternity – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.! Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene came through D.C. the day before the actual ceremony, but we were still able to participate in the private dedication ceremony and other wonderful events honoring this great man.

School started the day before we went to D.C. and I’m so happy to be back at my elementary school spending time with my friends and learning about wonderful new things. I can’t believe it’s already October, which means that its time for the March of Dimes Volunteer Leadership Conference. In a few weeks, me and my whole family will be going back to Washington D.C. to attend the March of Dimes Volunteer Leadership Conference. This is when other volunteers like me and my family will do something called lobbying, which means that we ask the United States lawmakers to make sure that the laws that they pass help preemies to survive and thrive. This is also the time when the March of Dimes Kicks-Off the 2012 March for Babies season so it will be a really fun few days. The Volunteer Leadership Conference is also a very sad time for me and my family because it means that our National Ambassador Year is slowly coming to a close.

Another really BIG thing happening soon with the March of Dimes is that November is Prematurity Awareness Month – YAY! November 17th is World Prematurity Day, so it will be a day when not only the United States but the whole world takes time to focus on babies born all over the world who were born too small like me. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to be the 2011 March of Dimes National Ambassador. I will never forget this extraordinary year and all of the wonderful people that I have been able to meet. This experience is one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and there is no way that I could thank the March of Dimes enough for choosing me and my family to serve in this role.

See you after the VLC!

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Summer Staff Meeting – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Greetings from Sunny South Florida!

My mom and I headed further south to attend the annual March of Dimes Summer Staff meeting in Ft. Lauderdale. During this meeting, March of Dimes staff members from all over the country convene to engage in workshops and training sessions to help them gain more useful tools to promote the March of Dimes Mission. My mom and I attended this year’s meeting to speak at the Mock March for Babies Kick-Off Luncheon. They didn’t show our video, but my mom still cried – Go Figure! My mom shared our story, as she always does, and thanked the staff for their role in saving the lives of countless babies through their work with the March of Dimes. My mom and I got to see so many staff members that we have met through our travels this year and it was so wonderful to be reunited with them.

I also got to go to the beach to collect sea shells to give to the National Youth Council for the March of Dimes. This was a wonderful trip and I really enjoyed my time in South Florida. Most of all, it was an honor to see so many staff members who truly care about the mission of the March of Dimes and work tirelessly to make sure that one day all babies will be born healthy. I love each and every one of you!

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Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. National Convention – Chicago

My family and I traveled to Chicago, IL for the National Convention of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. I was so excited to meet so many Alphas. My Dad and I spoke at the Fraternity’s Official Luncheon where thousands of members came to hear about my story as a premature baby. Each year, they raise a lot of money so that babies like me can be born healthy and on time.

After we spoke, many of them told me how proud they were of me and they said that they were going to do even more for the March of Dimes. This made me so happy! But, I was even more excited when my Dad said that he was proud of me. I had so much fun in Chicago and I can’t wait to tell all of my friends about my visit there.

I hope that you enjoy the pictures of my Dad and I speaking together.

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Be A Hero for Babies Day – Los Angeles

Farmers Insurance agents are all heroes for babies! Yesterday me and my dad went back out to Los Angeles to spend the day at the Farmers Insurance headquarters for their 6th annual Be A Hero for Babies day. It was SO much fun! There was a big room full of people answering phones from all over the country, with other people from Farmers telling us how much money they were going to raise for the March of Dimes. I got to talk to the people in the room and give them cookies, and I got some candy from them. All of those people were so nice, they were fun to talk to. My Dad and I also got to talk to Mr. Bob Woudstra who is the CEO of Farmers Insurance. I saw him last Friday at another Farmers Insurance sponsored event called Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures so it was fun to see him again so soon. I also got to see Ms. Faye McClure again, she is so nice! After we were done meeting the people who were answering all the phones we got to go outside and play carnival games! I won so many tickets that I won prizes for my whole family. I had so much fun playing those games, I just didn’t want to stop playing. After that we went on stage with Ms. Jane Massey and Mr. Woudstra to thank the crowd, and I got to give Mr. Woudstra a superhero toy because HE is a superhero for babies. After all of that fun was done the whole group headed over and got to each so much yummy food from trucks.

I am so excited about all of the babies that Farmers Insurance will help by raising money. I had so much fun again in Los Angeles, I want to say thank you to all of Farmers Insurance from my whole family and from the March of Dimes family for being heroes for babies. I hope that you enjoy the great pictures that the photographer Mr. Rick Horn took.

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