Luncheon benefit to be hosted for area infant

Published 9:16 am Thursday, March 7, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — When Orlena Fiedler, 33, of Niles, became a mother, she said her entire life changed. Though that sentiment is true for most any mother, Orlena’s life changed more drastically than most.

When her son, Relic, entered the world prematurely, she and her husband’s lives became a string of doctors’ visits, hospital stays and close calls that left them worried about their son’s life.

Now, more than a year after his birth, Relic is living at home as a happy and healthy infant, but the experience left the Fiedlers with a mountain of medical bills.

To help ease their financial stress, a luncheon benefit will be hosted for Relic Fiedler from noon to 3 p.m. March 23 at the Church of Cassopolis, 520 Pearl St., Cassopolis. The benefit will feature lunch and a silent auction. Tickets cost $10, and funds raised from the event will help pay for bills related to Relic’s care.

“This is to get us caught up on bills,” Orlena said. “You never really realize the cost of something like this until you bring them home.”

Relic was born Jan. 13, 2018, three months premature. As a result, he spent eight months in the newborn intensive care unit at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. In that time, Orlena said Relic faced several complications and challenges. When Orlena was finally able to bring Relic home in September 2018, she said she was happy but also terrified that something more would go wrong.

“It was like a rollercoaster — a horrible, horrible rollercoaster,” she said. “But he does better every day, and we are ready to get off the roller coaster.”

Though he still currently breathes with the aid of a ventilator, 13-month old Relic acts the same way any other happy, healthy baby would. Rolling around on the floor of his living room on a Monday afternoon, Relic laughed and played as his mother watched him with a smile on her face.

“We have been very blessed,” she said. “He could be grumpy — he has every reason to be — but he is not. He is so happy all the time.”

Relic’s experience prompted Orlena to pursue her blog, Surviving Life, and Facebook page, Relic Gabriel Micro Miracle, where she often shares her story and the challenges and triumphs that her family faces. By sharing her story, Orlena said she had found kindness from strangers who either sympathize with her plight or have experienced something similar.

Though the Fiedlers have received support throughout Relic’s journey, Orlena said she was still surprised when her cousin, Jessica Pompey, reached out and told her the community wanted to host a fundraiser for Relic.

“We have had so much support,” she said. “It’s amazing that there are people out there like that. We are so, so grateful.”

As Relic continues to grow, Orlena said that she hopes that he feels the support of the people around him and that he continues to be a strong, happy child.

“If he survived this, he can probably do anything that he wants to do,” she said. “I just hope he soars after this.”

To buy presale tickets, donate or contribute to Relic’s fundraiser, contact Jessica Pompey at (269) 228-1980 or email