The Eau Claire community shows support for newborn born 15 weeks prematurely

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 6:09 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The sense of community stands strong as staff at some Eau Claire restaurants came together to support a family who welcomed their first child much earlier than expected.

On Thursday, December 29th at 6:24 a.m. newborn, Rowan Lawton, made his way into this world. However, his birthday was 15 weeks earlier than expected.

“He was due April 27., of 2023, so that kind of puts it in a little bit of perspective that he was supposed to still be in the womb for another couple of months,” Rowan’s mother, Gretta Lawton said.

Despite the setbacks that come with being born prematurely, his parents, Gretta and John Lawton say he’s a fighter.

“He likes to move around, he’s very animated,” John Lawton said.

“Yeah, he has kept everyone on their toes,” Gretta Lawton said. “He’s a little fighter.”

Rowan’s parents are well-known in the Eau Claire community as they’ve worked in the restaurant industry for many years and made dozens of friends along the way.

“Well I worked at Grizzly’s and then we both worked at Green Mill, Bug Eyed Betty’s, Local Lounge, and then Northern Taphouse was my last position,” Gretta Lawton said.

One of those friends and past coworkers is the General Manager of Court’N House, Benjamin Orlikowski. When he found out about Rowan’s early birth he knew he wanted to help.

“John and Gretta are two of the most kind-hearted, caring people I’ve ever gotten the privilege to meet in my life,” Orlikowski said. “They are very hardworking individuals, and they’ve given so much to this community, and made such an impact on so many people’s lives, and the opportunity to help them out for any of us is indescribable.”

Court’N House will be having a fundraiser to support the Lawton’s through their time in the hospital.

“We’ll be hosting the fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., or close on Saturday, Feb. 25., Orlikowski said. “We will be putting donation jars up at the bar and then anyone who is willing and wants to donate can put some cash in the jars.”

The Northern Taphouse, where Gretta Lawton last worked, will be raising funds for Rowan as well. On Tuesday, Feb. 21., 20 percent of the sales will go towards supporting Rowan. The idea came from one of Gretta’s coworkers of nine years.

“We were kind of talking about it and I was like, they deserve everything, they’re the best people I’ve ever met,” Northern Taphouse server, Ronni Rykal, said.

With all of this support flooding in, the Lawton’s say that they wish they could just be there to hug everyone.

“I guess we want to say thank you on here because, unfortunately, we can’t be at the events this week because there’s too many people, and we would want to hug everybody and love everybody, and if we get sick we can’t be with our son,” Gretta Lawton said.

You can also click here to donate to the Lawton’s on their GoFundMe page.