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Community pulls togetherto help struggling family

We are part of The Trust Project.

Go and Do

What: Fundraiser for the Swanberg family, including dinner, a silent auction, raffle and dancing.

When: 4 p.m. on Saturday

Where: Grumpy’s, Grand Meadow

By Roxana Orellana

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rorellana@postbulletin.com

The happiness reflected in her smile is so stunning that you hardly notice the various tubes and devices attached to her small body.

Alexandria Mae Swanberg will be celebrating her first birthday in Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester on Tuesday.

That first birthday came earlier than expected for her family.

She was born three months premature, weighing one pound, seven ounces.

"Both Jeff (Swanberg) and I are very grateful to have the support of our friends and family," Lana Ramsey, Alexandria’s mother said. "We’re amazed by the way the community has pulled together for this."

Having their daughter spend more than half of her short life in the hospital has meant significant medical bills and daily expenses.

Kim Klapperich, a friend of the family, decided she wanted to take the support further. With the help of others, Klapperich organized a benefit for Alexandria and her family.

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"It’s definitely for a very good cause," Klapperich said. "This baby needs as much community support and help as she can get, as does the family."

Friends like Klapperich put together a fundraiser at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Grumpy’s in Grand Meadow. It will include dinner, a silent auction, raffle and dancing.

Klapperich said the event will have a variety of items to buy at good prices. All the proceeds will go to Alexandria’s trust account at Farmers and Merchants Bank in Grand Meadow.

Klapperich said she was present when Alexandria was born.

"She’s a happy baby. She is just a sweetheart," Klapperich said.

During her stay at the hospital, Alexandria has gone through several surgeries and treatments due to her prematurity.

Difficulties during the year have included failure to grow, breathing and gastro-intestinal problems. After a five-week stay at home, Alexandria returned to the hospital, where doctors discovered she had liver failure. In three weeks, a donor was found.

During her hospital stay, Alexandria was also diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy. Ramsey said the biggest worry is the amount of physical therapy and treatment their daughter will need in the long term. As Alexandria gets older, specialists will be able to better determine her cognitive and motor skills.

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The family, along with their 11-year-old son, plan to learn sign language to have a way to communicate with Alexandria.

For now, the goal is to have Alexandria back home for the holidays.

Aside from the benefit, Ramsey and her whole family is thankful to have the day-to-day help and support.

"It’s been a trying year."

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