Faith, hope, and love, the greatest among these is love. Tonight I am reminded of a dear friend Susan's children and their family's work with the March of Dimes on behalf of babies everywhere. Now 6-years old, when Jake and Abby were born 92 days early they had only a 50-50 chance of survival. Jake weighed 1 lb. 15 oz., and Abby weighed 1 lb. 13 oz. That’s about the size of a beanie baby bear…or as one of their doctors put it, a good sized cheeseburger. They experienced a range of difficulties at birth, not the least of which was breathing on their own. Jake had three surgeries before ever leaving the hospital. Both kids had RSV, a life threatening and permanently damaging respiratory virus. Both of them also had severe brain hemorrhaging, causing permanent brain damage.
Abby has substantial hearing loss, and Jake has mild cerebral palsy as a result of the damage. But that certainly doesn’t stop them from doing anything! In fact, to know Jake and Abby, you would have NO IDEA that they were born so early. They are truly miracle babies.
No one is working harder than the March of Dimes to understand the causes of prematurity and birth defects. That's why Jake and Abby's family and friends are participating in the March for Babies as a Family Team. Family Teams are made up of friends and family who want to honor babies – babies born prematurely or with a birth defect, babies who didn’t survive, or healthy, full-term babies. Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. Birth defects pose another serious threat – taking the lives of many babies and cause lifelong disabilities for thousands more. So it’s important for us to help the March of Dimes help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.