Jun 13, 2014
08:03 AM
Health & Wellness

Author Jennifer Weiner Speaking at March of Dimes Connecticut Brunch for Babies

Author Jennifer Weiner Speaking at March of Dimes Connecticut Brunch for Babies

Jennifer Weiner.

Author and Connecticut native Jennifer Weiner could be called the voice of a generation—specifically that of women moving gracefully (and sometimes not so gracefully) from their 20s into adulthood, complete with relationships, babies and all the trials and tribulations that naturally ensue.

“In terms of subject matter, I like to consider issues that women are dealing with, whether it’s addiction, in All Fall Down (her latest novel, below),a cheating spouse, in Fly Away Home, surrogate pregnancy in Then Came You or a friend’s betrayal in Best Friends Forever,” says Weiner.

In her eleven books, including The New York Times best-seller In Her Shoes, which was made into a film starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette in 2005, Weiner’s voice is at once hilarious and truthful. In real life, the Simsbury resident is much the same—witty and poignant.

"My style is, I hope, smart, witty and accessible. I don’t like sentences that call attention to themselves. I like accurate, descriptive, vivid writing," she says.

It’s for these reasons and more that the March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter booked her to speak at the inaugural “Brunch for Babies” fundraiser, taking place Saturday, June 21.

The luncheon will take place at Belle Terrace at Avon Old Farms starting at 11 a.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at marchofdimes.com/ct.

“She’s very entertaining and she’s from Connecticut,” March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter State Director of Communications, Leigh-Ann Lefurge, says of Weiner. “I’ve heard she’s [spoken in] the state many times and puts on a great talk.”

During her portion of the program, Weiner says she plans to discuss “everything I’ve learned in the last 44 years, with jokes.”

“I’m going to talk about authentic happiness, and how women can find it; about failure, and how women can grow from it, and about what I want my daughters to know as they grow up and move into the world,” she says.

It’s sure to be a perfect tie-in to the work March of Dimes (logo below) is doing for women and mothers across the country, and within the state.

Lefurge says the organizations mission in a nutshell is to, “give all babies a healthy start.” That manifests in a variety of ways including research, education and advocacy.

“Really we’re working to help moms have full-term healthy pregnancies,” says Lefurge. “We don’t want babies to have to spend any time in the [neonatal intensive care unit] NICU.”

March of Dimes is a leader in the fight against prematurity. In 2003, the organization launched the “Prematurity Campaign,” which funds research and promotes legislations that improves care for moms and babies.

According to the website, “Every year in the United States, nearly half a million babies are born too soon, 4,000 of them right here in Connecticut.”

The Connecticut Chapter has invested $2 million in prematurity research at Yale New Haven Hospital, says Lefurge.

At the Brunch for Babies event, Erin Morris of Plainville will be honored with the first Mom of the Year Award. Morris’ son, Griffin, was born premature at 33 weeks, weighing just 5 lbs., 8 oz.

(Morris and Griffin, left.)

Morris was experiencing a healthy pregnancy when an ultrasound at 28 weeks revealed that Griffin has a serious heart defect. Born just five weeks later, he was diagnosed with a mild chronic lung disease, pulmonary valve stenosis and tracheomalacia. He spent 77 days in the NICU at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center at Hartford Hospital.

“Seeing your baby in the NICU is very difficult,” says Morris. “We were really scared about his condition and you go through so many emotions—fear, joy when he hit milestones, sadness, anger, and so much pride at how hard Griffin fought.”

Once at home, the family suffered another frightening setback when Griffin stopped breathing while in his car seat. Morris performed CPR until the ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital.

“We found out his heart was pressing on his airway and was causing his tracheomalacia to be much worse,” says Morris. “He had to have a tracheostomy to keep his airway safe.  At that point, we hit the lowest of lows. It seemed all the work he had done to get out of the NICU and home was lost because we were back in the hospital, now in the pediatric intensive care unit for another 50 days.”

Today, Griffin is doing well at home, though he continues to breathe with the assistance of the tracheostomy.

“We are proud to honor Erin as Mom of the Year, for not only her courage and strength through a most difficult time, but for her commitment to raising awareness and supporting community efforts so that all babies will one day be born healthy,” says Deb Fafard, state director of the March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter.

The Connecticut Chapter decided to host the “Brunch for Babies” for the first time this year in an effort to reach mothers and women in the Farmington Valley.

“We wanted to do a new event in summer time for moms,” says Lefurge. “We wanted to give moms and women a nice morning out.”

The national organization’s largest fundraiser of the year is the March for Babies, which was first launched in 1970 and has raised $2.3 billion. The Connecticut walk-a-thons earlier this year raised $1.3 million, says Lefurge.

“If they couldn’t make our walk, [the brunch will be a] nice way to support March for Dimes,” says Lefurge.

Tickets for “Brunch for Babies” cost $50 per person, or a table of 10 can be purchased for $450. There are only about 30 to 40 tickets left, so those who are interested should reserve their place online.

For more information on March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter visit at marchofdimes.com/ct.

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

Author Jennifer Weiner Speaking at March of Dimes Connecticut Brunch for Babies

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