WALKATHON NAME TWIN AMBASSADORS
By Eileen Bailey
To look at Lance and Logan Barksdale working in their tree house, tool belts hanging from their waists, one would never know how rocky their start in this world was.
The twins, now 7, were born two months prematurely, each weighing 3 pounds, 10 ounces. The first six weeks of their lives were spent in the hospital attached to tubes and heart monitors.
Their mother, Renee Barksdale, remembers that as a time when her family took each day as it came. “We struggled an ounce at a time,” she said. But now looking at her sandy-haired sons as they hammer diligently on the tree house – which they said will be bigger than the Swiss Family Robinson’s – it appears those times have almost passed.
Renee Barksdale said she still keeps pictures and videos from the boys’ time in the hospital that she occasionally shows her sons as reminders of their struggle. Another reminder will be the annual March of Dimes Walk America.
Lance and Logan will be this year’s ambassadors in the annual walkathon. Donna Benefield, who is on the planning committee for the walk, said each year a person is chosen as an ambassador – one who has received the services of the March of Dimes.
Last year, the walkathon raised $50,000 in Tupelo. This year, the March of Dimes hopes to raise $54,000 through the walkathon, which follows the same 6-mile route as Tupelo’s Gum Tree run. Walkers gather pledges for each mile they walk. Those donations are then collected and given to the March of Dimes.
The funds raised for March of Dimes provide numerous programs in the research and prevention of birth defects and infant mortality.
“The March of Dimes research advocated the utilization of neonatal intensive care units for the health and welfare of all babies born premature, such as Lance and Logan,” said Roberta Stancil, executive director of the March of Dimes of Mississippi.
Without neonatal units like the one at the North Mississippi Medical Center Women’s Hospital, Barksdale said her children would not have survived. Now they are healthy boys, thanks to the equipment that was used to help them breathe and monitor their hearts.
Bo Barksdale kept a watchful eye on his boys as they worked in their tree house earlier this week. “They are 150 percent boys,” he said. “Everything they do is wide open and nothing they do is slow.”
Lance and Logan said they are excited about being named ambassadors. “We get to ride in the golf cart,” Lance said. “I want to run, too. I’ve got my running shoes.”