Editor's Note: We updated this article at 4:40 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, with information about Newtown Coach Marc Kenney's family and their experiences with premature labor and the March of Dimes. We also added a photograph of Kenney's wife, Kateri (a Newtown High School teacher) and their two children, Jordan and Ryan.
OXFORD -- Tonight marks the last night that the Oxford and Newtown high school girls’ soccer teams will play each other because Oxford will move into the Naugatuck Valley League next year.
So the coaches for both teams thought it would be nice to commemorate the event, while simultaneously trying to raise money for a cause near and dear to both of their hearts.
You see, Oxford Coach Alicia Salvatore and Newtown Coach Marc Kenney are cousins. Kenney’s children were born premature and are now doing well thanks to wonderful medical treatment that they have received.
The cousins thought tonight would mark a wonderful opportunity to raise money for March of Dimes, which helps mothers have full-term pregnancies and researches the problems that threaten the health of babies.
The game will be held at 7 tonight, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, at Oxford High School’s Wolverine Field at 61 Quaker Farms Road, Route 188. Proceeds from sales of team apparel, refreshments and other items will go straight toward March of Dimes.
The Kenney Family Experience
Marc Kenney and his wife, Kateri, are both teachers at Newtown High School. Their oldest son Jordan, who is now 4-and-a-half, was born eight weeks early at Waterbury Hospital at 4 pounds. He went home on time and experienced very few medical problems.
Their second son, Ryan, who will be two in December, was born at 25 weeks at Waterbury Hospital and weighed just 2 pounds. Ryan was immediately transferred to Connecticut Children's Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Connecticut Health Center's John Dempsey Hospital.
At one point, Ryan's weight dropped to 1-and-a-half pounds and he experienced severe lung problems. Initially, doctors were skeptical about whether he would live.
Thanks to months of wonderful treatment by a team of medical professionals and intensive love and care from family and friends, Ryan has recently started to walk and talk, Marc Kenney said. Though his development has been halted some, Ryan is doing well.
"The neonatal center at UConn was incredible, not just at taking care of the baby, but they did a good job taking care of us, as well," he said. "They helped us be able to persevere and deal with the circumstance very, very easily."
On top of the hospital, the Kenneys also dealt with Jeanne Lattanzio, director of March of Dimes in the Greater Hartford area.
"We cannot say enough about all that they did for us," Marc Kenney said.
The idea for a fundraiser was spawned last year by Kenney's Newtown soccer team. The girls wanted to help and they thought a game with a fundraising component for March of Dimes was a great idea. The girls also held a fundraiser for the Kenneys when they were dealing with their hardships.
"This is one of the reasons I'm involved in high school sports," he said. "The team is really special and they went out of their way to help me and my family."