Weather Forecast


Ambassador family benefits from March of Dimes

Not once, but twice, premature birth has touched the Kindred family of Bemidji.

Now the family of five will be an ambassador family for the March of Dimes March for Babies. This year's walk is set for Saturday at Bemidji State University. Registration for the event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at BSU's Gillett Recreation-Fitness Center and the walk will start at 9:30 a.m.

Six years ago, Jess and Glenda Kindred were awaiting the arrival of their son when Glenda went into preterm labor at 22 weeks. Glenda said she experienced a lot of preterm labor and other complications during the pregnancy.

"I was actually flown to Fargo on one occasion and in and out of the hospital 21 times," she said.

Tristin was born six and a half weeks premature. He weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces, and spent 10 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.

More than three years later, the Kindreds discovered they were going to have another baby -- a girl. At 13 weeks, Glenda went into preterm labor. Eleven weeks later, she was transported by ambulance to a Twin Cities hospital and, a few weeks after that, she was airlifted back to the hospital.

She was in and out of the hospital 19 times during her second pregnancy. Their daughter, Adrianna, was born two weeks premature with a cleft palette and Pierre Robin Sequence, which, according to the Pierre Robin Network, is the name given to a combination of birth defects which usually include a small lower jaw, cleft palate and a tendency for the tongue to "ball up" in the back of the mouth.

"She was in the hospital for two weeks," Glenda said.

Like her brother, Adrianna is doing well now. She had surgery last fall to repair her cleft palate and visits a specialist every four months to work on speech, eating and other skills. Many children with PRS, according to the Pierre Robin Network, have breathing and feeding problems early in life.

"She will be 2 in November," Glenda said. "She's healthy."

Along the way, the Kindreds have benefited from the research and information provided by the March of Dimes.

"I was able to get a lot of information," Glenda said.

When she was pregnant with both Tristin and Adrianna, Glenda received shots of surfactant. The March of Dimes played a leading role in the development of surfactant therapy, which helps babies' lungs mature faster.

The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March for Babies, formally called WalkAmerica, raises funding to support the March of Dimes.

The Kindred family, including Jess' daughter, Marissa, 10, will walk in Saturday's March for Babies in Bemidji as part of Team Baby Guppy. The team of 20 children and adults is named after Tristin's nickname as a baby, Baby Guppy.

Becky Lindell, chairwoman for the local March for Babies, said last year's walk in Bemidji raised $55,000.

"The goal for this year for our walk in Bemidji is $67,000," she said.