Best foot forward: Attorney takes a hike to raise money for the March of Dimes


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

The work of the March of Dimes has special meaning for Ann Arbor attorney Nancy Kuemin — her son Nathan was a premature baby, and so were two nieces and a nephew, triplets born at 30 weeks.

“I’m so grateful for the four preemies in my life who are alive and well because of the MOD,” she says. “Their determination to grow and thrive while in the NICU was — and is — nothing short of inspiring. They, along with Nate’s older sister Sabine, are truly the light of my life.”

Nathan was born at 33 weeks; after initial rescue breathing at birth, he was able to breathe on his own, but with an undeveloped reflex to swallow and breathe at same time, he had difficulty eating and would choke a lot, and also couldn’t keep his body temperature up. He spent 12 days in a neonatal intensive care unit.

“He was slow reaching milestones for 2 years, and didn’t walk or talk until 18 months. He started to catch up around to his peers at around 2-1/2. He’s now 4 and seems to be caught up. He has asthma, reflux and allergies, but otherwise is doing just fine — we’re so grateful,” Kuemin says.

The triplets — Aryne, Gavin and Rachel — spent four weeks in the NICU. Now 5 years old, they have all had health issues but are doing well.

While her son was in the NICU, Kuemin and her husband noticed there were several other babies who were much sicker than Nathan — babies who needed vents and surgeries and transfusions, or who had brain damage or other long lasting problems. They were inspired to get involved with the March of Dimes.

“We were so grateful Nate wasn’t facing any of those things, and we want to work toward making sure no other babies will, either,” she says. “The work of MOD is so important. They do research into so many areas and I’m learning more about them every year.”

After seeing an ad for WalkAmerica, March for Babies, she signed up the family.

“We’ve walked each year since, doubling our team size and earning more money each year,” she says. “It’s a wonderful way to give thanks for the care my son and my sister’s children received. And we also use the day to remember and honor the baby we lost early in pregnanc. I had an ectopic pregnancy. March for Babies is a very special event for our family.”

There are three walks associated with the Ann Arbor Division of the MOD, held in the spring. In 2011, March for Babies will be held on May 1.

“I walk at Hudson Mills Metropark, about a 3-mile walk,” Kuemin says. “We formed our team in 2007, and I have worked on the Family Teams committee going on my third year now. We had over 90 family teams walk at Hudson Mills in 2010, and a lot of corporate teams. My husband is the captain of Team Toyota, who sponsors the Family Team Tent.

“I believe there are usually over 3,000 walkers, but in 2010, the weather wasn’t so great, so I’m not sure how many people showed up. We’re always looking for more family teams and more corporate teams. It’s a really fun event and we look forward to it every year.”

Kuemin and her husband will attend the Ann Arbor Signature Chef’s Auction on October 25 at the Four Points Sheraton, Ann Arbor, one of many similar events taking place around Michigan.

“Serdar and I have heard that it’s fantastic and are really looking forward to a fun night of good food, great company, and in support of our favorite cause,” she says.

While March for Babies and the Signature Chef’s Auction are the biggest MOD fund-raisers, Kuemin also has participated in a few smaller ones.

 “Last year, I helped out with a fund-raiser at the Big Boy restaurant, where I helped out as a celebrity server. I believe 10 percent of sales plus tips went to the March of Dimes - Ann Arbor division. It was really fun. Several of my teammates came out to have some food and raise money,” she says.

“I also attended a fund-raising event in Saline called Quarter Mania this past fall, sort of an auction/raffle. Again, I came with a couple of teammates and we had lots of fun and each went home with items we had won.”

Kuemin recently hosted a party for Arbonne health and beauty products at her house and her Arbonne consultant gave 20 percent of sales to her family team for MOD.

A graduate of Lumen Christi High School in Jackson, Kuemin earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan then attended Cooley Law School in Lansing, graduating in 1999 with a J.D., concentration in litigation.

She worked as an intern doing research for the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council; then interned in the Emmet County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, working in district court, as well as doing juvenile court and mental health hearings; and as an extern in district court for the Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

She was an assistant prosecutor in Monroe County, working in district court and doing abuse/neglect work and mental health hearings; and spent five years as assistant Prosecutor in Hillsdale County working in court, district court, and family court, as well as heading the Child Abuse Investigation Protocol team.

Currently taking time off from her law practice, Kuemin plans to get back to practicing law in the next couple of years, after her children are both full time in school.