March for babies Personal story pushes couple to support Vicksburg walk

Published 12:01 am Saturday, June 19, 2010

On her son Sebastian’s first birthday in June 2009, Sarah Younker-Koeppel asked family and friends to donate items or money to Ronald McDonald House rather than buy presents.

Sebastian already had plenty of toys, she said, and the charity that provides housing for families of sick, hospitalized children is a good cause.

Just seven months later, Sarah and her husband Chris Koeppel, residents of Vicksburg, found themselves turning to the Ronald McDonald House in Jackson for a place to stay while their daughter, delivered 10 weeks prematurely, fought her short, six-day battle for life at University Medical Center.

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Baby Eleanor — Ellie — lost that battle Jan. 14.

Now Sarah is asking walkers and runners to participate in the upcoming March for Babies, the largest fundraiser for one of the nation’s oldest and most respected charitable organizations, the March of Dimes.