LEANDER — Three years ago, a Leander mom gave birth to her only child after merely 29 weeks of pregnancy. Little Bryson Richarte weighed just 2 pounds, 13 ounces, making him one of over half a million infants born too soon every year in the United States. As a preemie, Bryson faced an increased risk of lifelong health problems, but thanks in part to the March of Dimes, the leading non-profit organization for pregnancy and baby health, he is now a “thriving 3-year-old,” said his mom, Lindsey Richarte. Lindsey and her husband, Scott Richarte, started Bassin’ for Babies, a fishing tournament, to give back to March of Dimes.
The first Bassin’ for Babies was held last April at Jones Brothers Park in Jonestown. The event raised $5,000, of which $3,000 went to March of Dimes. Family and friends of the Richartes, as well as local fishermen who met the Richartes for the first time at the tourney, participated in the event.
“There was a lot of people I didn’t know; a lot of people from the fishing world,” Lindsey recalls. “My husband was actually the person who created the idea [Bassin’ for Babies]. He fishes regularly and does tournaments himself but once he came up with the idea, I’m the one who ran with it because he wanted to participate.”
Now in its second year, Bassin’ for Babies continues to grow in regards to number of participants and sponsors, she said. The Richartes launched Bassin4Babies.com where anyone interested can find all the information on this year’s tournament including registration. Late registration for the event takes place from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. on April 3 at Jones Brothers Park, while the tournament kicks off at safelight. This year’s Bassin’ for Babies will also feature a spring fest from noon to 3 p.m. providing fun for the kids through face painting, a cake walk, moon walk and more.
Lindsey hopes the fundraiser will become “bigger and better” through the years to continue helping the March of Dimes cause.
“We have not had the medical struggles that a lot of preemies have. Bryson is a very healthy, normal 3-year-old boy at this point. Because of advancement of March of Dimes, he is where he is now,” Lindsey explained. “Premature children like him would not even be here at this point [compared to prior decades]. That’s why we go out of our way to give back to this organization.”
While March of Dimes helps families of preemies, Lindsey said the organization goes above and beyond aiding just those families. “It’s not just for unhealthy babies. March of Dimes created 28 birth defect screenings on pregnant woman, provides educational classes on healthy pregnancies. [March of Dimes] really affects all women who have been pregnant or have families,” Lindsey said.
The Leander mom still remembers the positive difference March of Dimes made on her personally when she gave birth to premature Bryson three Thanksgivings ago.
“I delivered the Sunday before Thanksgiving. [March of Dimes] organized a Thanksgiving dinner for myself and other preemie families, educational classes, provided a huge resource for contacts and people to deal with once you leave the hospital for physical therapy and counseling, and all those kinds of things. They also provided neonatal intensive care unit family support, Elizabeth Garza, who brought me the first photos of my child because I wasn’t able to see Bryson for 36 hours. They go and take pictures of your newborn and bring it to your bedside,” Lindsey shared.
Bryson is now an active, healthy toddler.
“He’s all boy. He loves playing outside, He’s very into tractors [toys] and things like that. He likes Mickey Mouse’s Club House, most Disney movies — he likes the Toy Story movies. He’s slightly destructive,” a chipper Lindsey shared.