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It was the summer of 2000 and my wife and I were expecting our first child.

Excitement mixed with a twinge of fear of the unknown sparked a conversation at the time with a colleague of mine who had already lived through the birth of three children of her own.

"I can tell you this," she said sincerely. "It will forever alter the way you look at parents with a critically ill child."

That was the understatement of the century.

I, like all parents, live with the constant anxiety that one of my children could face a life threatening situation. Knowing I cannot take their place - cannot take away the pain.

I truly do not know how parents find the inner strength to endure times such as these, and my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Which is why I so respect the work done at Vermont Children's Hospital in nearby Burlington, Vt.

Through the use of cutting-edge technology found nowhere else in the region, the facility helps literally thousands of sick children become well each year.

Perhaps more importantly, they do so with a caring and compassion that can only come from a true love of kids.

"They become family," said Tina Evens, whose daughter's life was saved by the Vermont Children's Hospital.

"We still see nurses on the street and in the local grocery. They all remember you and ask how things are."

Examples of their caring can be found throughout the North Country. People who had their prayers come true thanks to the dedication of a few special people with the common goal of saving the lives of children.

I can't think of a more worthy cause than that.

It is for this reason that we here at New Market Press have signed up to participate in the Big Change Roundup for Kids, a benefit designed to raise money for Vermont Children's Hospital.

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