COAL TOWNSHIP - To say Laurie and Dan Krebs have been through a lot the past 16 months would be putting it mildly.

The couple grieved the loss of their newborn son Landon, who - with his twin sister Kyleigh - was born three months premature, and devoted sleepless nights caring for Kyleigh, who lived her first two months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville.

Overcoming the struggle of losing one child and watching another battle through a barrage of medical issues would not have been possible without the support of March of Dimes, the Krebs said.

The couple from the Edgewood section of Coal Township are now giving back to the organization by forming Kyleigh's Krawlers, a team led by Laurie Krebs that will participate May 5 in March for Babies at Geisinger Medical Center.

"Throughout our stay, they were there every day for us," Laurie said. "They brought us literature to read and had larger events for the families in the NICU, including a pizza party and organized family portraits."

Teams find sponsors to raise money prior to the 3-mile walking event around Geisinger. People can donate any amount of money to the cause. Laurie hopes to raise $1,300, which will go towards continuing programs at the NICU.

A long road

Kyleigh and Landon were born 14 minutes apart on Nov. 2, 2011. Landon weighed 2 pounds 5 ounces; Kyleigh 2 pounds even.

The Krebs said Landon seemed typical for a preemie until results for lab work and an ultrasound came back.

Doctors found a grade 4 brain bleed - the most severe of its type. Later that day, Laurie and Dan had to decide whether to keep him on life support. Landon past away Nov. 3, 26 hours after his birth.

Kyleigh suffered from respirator distress, jaundice, anemia of prematurity and ductus patent arteriosus, a heart problem that affects some babies soon after birth.

She was released from the hospital Jan. 1, 2012. Today, Kyleigh has fully recovered and weighs 18 pounds.

"She has had a long road with weight," Dan Krebs said while Kyleigh crawled around their living room. "We're just happy she's here."

During Kyleigh's stay, a March of Dimes representative offering support approached Laurie and Dan.

Phoebe Beckley, March of Dimes family support specialist for the NICU, was especially kind, the Krebs said.

"She would ask how we were doing as parents," Dan Krebs said. "You hear about it on TV, but (you) don't know what they are about until they are there for you."

Touched by the kindness of people like Beckley, Laurie formed the team and also joined a March of Dimes advisor committee that strives to help improve the NICU for patients and their families.

To help meet the Krebs' goal of $1,300, a benefit night fundraiser will be held from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 9 at Brewser's SportsGrille in Coal Township. Brewser's will donate 20 percent of sales from guests that present tickets. Tickets are available by contacting the Krebs at lakrebs@ptd.net or by going to the team's Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/YOOcDy.

To make a donation, go to www.marchforbabies.org/lakrebs12.