By: Elise Phillips Margulis
Lisa Sleeper Frangione resides in Budd Lake with her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and their 12-year-old son. Six years ago she lost her third baby in the second trimester of her pregnancy. Her daughter was 8 years old at the time and had a very difficult time understanding why Lisa went to the hospital early and returned without her baby sister, Sophia Elizabeth. The pregnancy had been going well, and there was no indication that anything was wrong.
Her daughter wanted to do something to honor the baby’s memory, so the family participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies that year. Part of The March of Dimes mission is to ensure that all moms have healthy pregnancies so their babies will be born healthy.
Lisa joined the Skylands walk and requested donations on Facebook for the first two years. Three years ago, her daughter created a joyful fundraiser called “Egg My House.” People donate money to have candy-filled Easter eggs hidden in their yard the Saturday night before Easter. “Egg My House” services homes in Mt. Olive, Long Valley and Hackettstown.
Lisa is very pleased with the support she’s received from the community. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of our town. Almost all of the eggs and candy are donated to me. This year we stuffed about 6,000 eggs, all donated. Anywhere between 30 and 40 people show up the week before Easter to volunteer to stuff the eggs, many of them are local teenagers. Ten cars of people, my volunteer ‘bunnies,’ delivered and hid eggs in 2019. Every year we get extra donations and we are able to either provide Easter baskets for or egg the house of a family in need or a family going through a hard time in our community. Last year I had miscalculated and I was 1,500 eggs short. Somebody who was volunteering and stuffing the eggs asked the mayor to post on his page that I needed eggs. Within an hour I had about 3,000 eggs at my front door from strangers in the community! We are truly grateful that we decided to call Mount Olive our home.”
Lisa has raised $10,361 in the past four years and so far this year they have raised $3,570 bringing the total to $13,939 raised for March for Babies. In addition to participating in the walk, Lisa is on the family planning committee for the walk and often sets up the night before and the morning of the walk. This year her family is volunteering at the remembrance tent at the walk. The Frangione family tries to stay active in volunteering for the cause and doing additional things besides walking and donating.
Lisa revealed that her passion for this has multiple reasons. “I want to help support research and intervention so that nobody has to go through what we went through. Also, as a pediatric physical therapist. I work almost every day with babies who are born prematurely. I see firsthand how the research funded by the March of Dimes has given those babies a fighting chance. I am inspired by the premature babies I work with every day.”
Lisa also wants to teach her children about volunteering and giving back to the community. They have learned through the “Egg My House” fundraiser that their community is full of caring people and that they can help the March of Dimes raise a great deal of money working cooperatively. Lisa is happy when someone approaches her to ask if she’s doing the eggs again this year because they are eager to volunteer and stuff eggs.
Lisa’s March for Babies website is www.marchforbabies.org/Lisafrangione.