Each year, writers and artists from around the world put their talents to work to help support the March of Dimes as they work to end prematurity and cure birth defects, and I'd like to extend a personal invitation to each of you to get involved. This is a cause very near and dear to me, both as the aunt of three preemies and as a volunteer coordinator for an organization that does everything possible to keep families together while their children fight serious medical issues like prematurity.
I cannot wait until we kick off this cycle of Fandom for Preemies on October 1st. We've teamed up with the Iron Pen Challenge this time around, and will be allowing everyone to get involved in bigger ways than before. We want this year's fundraiser to be our biggest ever, but we need your help to do it.
Authors and artists like you are very much the driving force behind the Fandom for Preemies cause. Each cycle, authors from all walks of life and all corners of the world sign on to donate a short story or chapter of a novel, which is then compiled into a huge anthology. Artists sign on to collaborate with authors to create a banner that represents their story so each piece has awesome visual representation in the anthology, too.
Anyone who donates a minimum of $5 to the March of Dimes from October 15th to December 1st receives the entire anthology, chock full of stories from popular published authors to hobby writers to those who write fanfiction or poetry. No one with a desire to help is left out, making Fandom for Preemies a truly collaborative effort in the writing community to help support a global organization doing everything it can to save the lives of the most fragile babies in every nation.
Rest assured, donors don't send us a dime. They make their contribution on the March of Dimes website via a virtual band established in honor of preemies everywhere or through another donation method, ensuring that every penny of every donation goes directly to the March of Dimes to use where needed most.
What the March of Dimes helps the medical field accomplish is nothing short of miraculous. When my nephew was born over three months early seven years ago, his lungs were incredibly damaged. So much so, he required the use of a ventilator twenty-four hours a day for years. When he came home on a portable ventilator for the first time six years ago, he was one of only 170 children in the entire state fortunate enough to live outside of the hospital with such critical respiratory needs. Today, there are over 450 young children like him in Arkansas alone living at home with their families instead of languishing in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
I share his story often, and gratefully. Ten years ago, preemies with his issues didn't survive, let alone live at home with their families and experience a normal childhood. Thanks to the March of Dimes, that's changing the world over.
Sadly though, prematurity is still very much misunderstood and overlooked by the general public. The average person doesn't realize that premature birth can happen to anyone and for no reason at all. In fact, there is no known cause of the majority of preterm births, 500,000 of which happen in the United States alone each year. These children are your neighbors' kids, your friends' kids, or maybe even your kids. World-wide, thirteen million babies are born prematurely each year, and one million of them won't survive infancy.
Kind of heartbreaking to consider, isn't it?
You can help us change this, one story at a time. All you have to do is sign on to contribute a piece of your writing (or to lend your artistic skills) to the fundraiser. What you write is entirely up to you. It can be new. It can be from an upcoming novel. It can be from that unfished manuscript you're still toiling over, or the one gathering dust in the corner. It can be young adult, historical, dystopian, erotica, or fanfiction. Heck, iif you don't have time to write, your contribution can be a copy of a published work, book swag, or a small gift card to raffle off to donors.
What you contribute doesn't matter. What matters is that you get involved! We turn no one away so long as basic guidelines are followed (no rape or incest, edit your piece, and don't write fanfiction if the original author has forbidden it), and every submission helps us thank donors in a big way. In two previous cycles, Fandom for Preemies has raised a little over $8,000.00 for the March of Dimes... five dollars at a time.
So today, I invite each of you to dash over to the Fandom for Preemies site and check it out. Read some of the preemie stories collected there. Share the links with your friends, your families, and your readers. And on October 1st, sign on to contribute a short story or donate a raffle item to the fundraiser. And be sure to keep an eye out on October 1st for the Iron Pen Challenge announcement for new ways to get involved and make a difference through something you already do every day: writing.
Everyone has a million things to do and adding this one more can seem impossible, but I can promise that getting involved with this cause will make a difference, if not in your life than in the life of someone you know. I know because I see this every day in my home, and at my job. Preemies are born into every family, in every nation, every year.
With that said, I want to mention a related project really quickly. I'm incredibly excited that sales of Fade coincide with the fundraiser this year because Curiosity Quills has generously agreed to match my personal royalty donation from now until March 2013, meaning the March of Dimes and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas will both receive 10% of net sales of Fade through March. So if you haven't grabbed a copy of Fade yet, there is still plenty of time to help us help two amazing charities. The more we sell, the more they make. And let's face it, that's a good thing anyway you look at it! :)
I hope to see all of you on the roster for Fandom for Preemies this fall! And please, feel free to pass this letter on far and wide.
Your Tireless Team Captain
Your Tireless Team Captain
Ayden K. Morgen
*Originally posted to A.K. Morgen's personal blog here.