Miracle twins to help raise money

Local twins helped by Children's Miracle Network to participate in fundraiser

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Twin boys helped by Children's Miracle Network are helping give back to sick children who are treated at Wolfson Children's Hospital and Shands Jacksonville Medical Center.

A lot of the hospital equipment and toys are paid for by the Children's Miracle Network and one of it's annual fundraisers is a Dance Marathon. Jacksonville is becoming one of just a few cities to sponsor this citywide.

Jacksonville's citywide Dance Marathon is a first ever event. Dance marathons have become a tradition on campus and now in our local Jacksonville community.

On Saturday, March 2, people will participate in the event at EverBank Field. They'll stand on their feet for 13 hours and it's all for the kids -- kids like Jack and Luke who were born prematurely with several complications.

Eating ice cream and playing on the playground are things their mom, Jennifer Edwards, never imagined her twin boys would live to do.

"When I was pregnant with the twins, we went in when I was four months along to find out the sex of the babies," Edwards said. "At that time we found out Jack did not have any amniotic fluid. We were told at that point not to expect that he would survive, that he would probably pass in utero."

Doctors told Jennifer there was a good chance she'd get an infection and lose both boys.  

She was admitted to Baptist South and two months later gave birth to two miracle children, Jack and Luke, both weighing just over two pounds each.

"To help them breathe, to help them eat, they had to use feeding tubes that were timed feeding," Edwards said. "They were on blood pressure monitors, heart monitors, oxygen monitors, things like that."

A lot of the equipment that saved Jack and Luke's lives was purchased by Children's Miracle Network, an organization that raises money for hospitals nationwide through Dance Marathon, where thousands of college students raise money and stand for 26 hours.  

"We stand for the kids in the hospital, in the pediatric wards at Wolfson Childrens Hospital and Shands Jacksonville to raise money for them so they will one day maybe be able to stand and come to our event and participate as well," Jacksonville Dance Marathon chair Brittany Zur said.

Jacksonville is taking Dance Marathon to the next level. It's one of only five cities to host a citywide event on Saturday, March 2.

People will stand for 13 hours at EverBank Field and they'll learn the morale dance. Jack and Luke are already practicing and everyone will do it every hour on the hour.

"You'll get to meet some of these Jacksonville miracles and see how they're doing today and what they've been through," Edwards said. "But not only that, you just never know when your child or niece or nephew or grandchild is going to need the services from Wolfson or Shands as well."

Anyone can still register for Jacksonville's Dance Marathon. It's $50 to participate or $10 to go visit and support those standing at EverBank.

Anyone who just wants to donate money can visit jacksonvilledancemarathon.org.

A happy hour fundraiser is also taking place Thursday at Poe's Tavern in Atlantic Beach. A $5 wrist band will include food and drink specials.

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