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Valley City 4-year-old, family raise funds for March of Dimes

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    Allie Fenzel, 4, middle, stands with her mother, Sharon, left, and his grandmother, Mary Ann Brown, at Allie's Lunch Stand Friday on Old Windmill Trail, Valley City.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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LIVERPOOL TWP. — When premature newborn Easton Miller died in February, the Fenzel family wanted to find a way to honor his life.

Sharon Fenzel, of Old Windmill Trail in Valley City, was talking to her 4-year-old daughter, Allie, about how go about doing just that.

They decided to create Allie’s Lunch Stand to raise money and awareness for the March of Dimes.

The lunch stand was a big hit Friday, and Allie raised $406 in three hours, selling hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly Uncrustables.

Easton’s parents, Moriah Foraker and Corbin Miller, of Brunswick, will participate in the March for Babies Walk at 10 a.m. June 30 at Lock 3 in Akron.

Easton was born 26 weeks premature at Southwest General Hospital in Middleburg Heights. He lived 36 hours before dying Feb. 24.

Sharon Fenzel, who works with Moriah Foraker, wanted to raise funds to help with research for why babies are born prematurely.

“Hopefully, no one else has to lose a baby like that,” Sharon Fenzel said,

She said she was brainstorming with her daughter about how to raise funds.

“What should we do?” Sharon Fenzel asked. “Should we have a lemonade stand?”

That’s when Allie proclaimed, “Lunch!”

“We let her make her own choices,” Sharon Fenzel said.

They created a lunch stand on their street, which is busy these days with construction workers.

Moriah Foraker couldn’t get off work Friday for the lunch stand. She sent flowers to Allie to thank her for the wonderful gesture.

Moriah’s mother, Rhonda Foraker, of Brunswick, and her grandparents, Chuck and Penny McCleary, of Valley City, were on hand.

“She’s disappointed she couldn’t be here,” Rhonda Foraker said. “It was so thoughtful and sweet (of Allie and Sharon Fenzel). It means so much to Moriah and me.”

Easton’s premature birth was the result of a complication during pregnancy.

Easton ran into problems when the placenta detached from the uterus. It caused early labor at 24 weeks, his grandmother said.

When Rhonda Foraker put her hand in the incubator after he was born, Easton held her finger.

“I don’t wish this on anybody,” she said.

Easton’s great-grandfather, Chuck McCleary, said the baby didn’t look premature to him.

“You bury your parents and your brothers and sisters, but a little guy like that, there was nothing like that,” he said.

Allie’s father, Jeff, also was at work Friday. That didn’t keep the event from being a success.

“(Maybe the lunch) will inspire more people to do things,” Sharon Fenzel said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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