Editor’s note: Andrew Gritzmaker, executive director of Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House, left Saturday on a 4,200-mile bike tour from Oregon to Virginia. His goal is to raise awareness for the mission of Hope House and to provide better insight into what families experience in a medical crisis.
This is the second in a weekly series of profiles of families served. Gritzmaker’s goal is to finish the race in 30 days and to raise $25,000 for the Hope House. As of noon Thursday, he was near the Idaho-Montana border.
Follow his progress competing in the Trans Am Bike Race on The Journal Gazette’s Facebook page or at transambikerace.com. Learn more about his quest at www.childrenshopefw.org.
Ryan and Sara Dryer of Montgomery, Michigan, became parents to triplets last July 28. The babies were born at 34 weeks’ gestation (a premature birth is defined as arrival prior to 37 weeks).
Johnathon Keith arrived first at 3:18 p.m., weighing 4 lbs., 3 oz. He was followed by Benjamin Louis at 3:19 p.m., weighing 4 lbs., 7 oz. They were joined by their sister, Rosalie, at 3:20 p.m. She weighed 3 lbs., 10 oz.
The babies tried to make their appearance at 30 weeks and then again at 32 weeks. Both times, doctors were able to stop the contractions and allow the babies to keep growing, as long as Sara remained on strict bed rest. Both Sara and Ryan were able to hear each baby cry before they were all taken to the newborn intensive care unit at Lutheran Hospital. For the next four weeks, Mom and Dad watched as their babies battled and overcame jaundice, irregular heart rhythms and feeding issues.
Ryan is an electric and computer technician/operator at Dryer Farms. Sara is nurse technician at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Angola. Their Michigan home is 61 miles from Fort Wayne, a distance that takes more than an hour to cover. Ryan shared that staying at the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House meant knowing they would not be far from their children.
“A wonderful, caring staff made all the difference in the world to my wife and I,” he said. “In our time of need, the Hope House was a blessing to us and our children.”