Throughout your life things will happen that are simply out of your control. During those times you can either feel sorry for yourself or you can search for the good in that situation. How can you turn the death of a family member or friend into a positive? Or, you just lost your job; what are you going to do? Well, I had the privilege to hear the amazing story of Penny Dewberry and her son Nate. To start it off I want to share a quote with everyone by Chuck Swindoll:March-of-Dimes-450

“…We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

I love that quote and if it is put in to action you will recover from those tough moments in your life and move on to do bigger and better things because of them.

Penny’s son Nate was born on March 7th, 2012, at 32 weeks and weighed 3 lbs., 6 oz., and was 15.5 inches long. A baby born that early is susceptible to many complications and Penny was aware that the next minutes, hours, and days ahead were going to be long ones. Nate was admitted to the NICU unit of the Greenville Memorial Hospital where he was to remain while he fought to grow stronger. He was diagnosed with Chylothorax which causes fluid to build up in the pleural cavity where the lungs are located. It is a rare disease and an effective treatment has yet to be discovered. With tubes all over his body to help him breathe, give him nutrients and extract fluid from his lungs, Nate was fighting for his life. Every day Penny would be in the NICU doing whatever she could to show her son love. Holding him and talking to him, as many of us know there is something about your mother’s voice that calms you down. Penny’s daughter was right by Nate’s side as well and would often read her brother a story before she went to bed. On April 4th, 2012, Penny had to say goodbye to her son Nate. She had spent almost an entire month by his side and now the battle had to end.

When Penny was telling her story, the thing that really struck me was the attitude she decided to take after something this devastating had happened in her life. Instead of continuing to mourn and hiding in a shell, she decided to celebrate Nate’s life. She decided to celebrate the precious moments she and her daughter spent by Nate’s side. She chose joy when she very easily could have chosen sadness. It is now February 2014 and Nate’s story is still affecting people’s lives and being used to save countless others. There are still moments of sadness, but Nate’s life will always be remembered and celebrated through Penny’s dedication to helping and loving others.

Penny volunteers her time sharing her story through an organization called the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes funds lifesaving research and programs and works to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. Every baby deserves a healthy start. Hearing Penny’s story was inspiring and I think within her story we all can relate to a time in our life where we had a choice to make: joy or sadness? Sealevel is trying to reach a goal of raising $10,000 for the March of Dimes. We have no doubt we are capable of doing this and it is such a small amount of money compared to how many lives March of Dimes has saved through its efforts.

Here is our donation page and if your company would like to participate in the March of Dimes fundraising efforts, all you have to do is email Erin Reid. She will be more than happy to get you started!

We would like to offer a big thank you to the March of Dimes for allowing us to be a part of this event, and to Penny for being willing to share her story with all the employees here at Sealevel.