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Benefit to Be Held for "Micro Premature" Girl

By Garrett Ford, WJBD News

The Salem Elks Lodge will host a benefit Saturday for a tiny baby girl and her family.  Sydni RaeAnn Stevenson is known as a "micro premie".  She was born October 25th weighing only one pound, one ounce.  Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis has been caring for Sydni while her parents, Jeremy and Amy, have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House.  Jeremy Stevenson says Sydni's treatment works to recreate an environment for her to grow.  "The incubator that she's in is essentially like an artificial womb.  They regulate the temperature and the humidity levels.  All the IV fluids and things like that basically take the place of the natural umbilical cord.  It's recreating the womb environment as close as we humanly can, mechanically," Stevenson said.

The benefit begins at 5:00 PM Saturday at the Elks Lodge.  Dinner will be pulled pork, baked beans and potato salad.  A DJ will start playing music at 8:00 PM.  Raffle tickets will be available with prizes furnished by local business.  Tickets can also be purchased separately by texting 618-367-1720 or 618-367-6105.

People are also encouraged to collect and bring can tabs to the benefit for the Ronald McDonald House.  Stevenson says his family has been blessed by the McDonald House, but other costs continue to grow.  "There's just every day-to-day living expenses.  Preparing food and that sort of thing is out of the equation, so you're constantly eating out, two adults, three meals a day.  There's travelling back-and-forth, which isn't far, but to go and do anything else around the city adds up very quickly," Stevenson said.

Stevenson says doctors originally thought Sydni may have to stay hospitalized for close to a year, but are now optimistic she may be able to leave near her original due date on January 30th.

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