Busy Denver business community makes time for March of Dimes national ambassador child
Becky Herlinger, March of Dimes, 303-692-0011, firstname.lastname@example.org
Young Representative Feted by United Airlines, Cigna, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Kmart and OthersDenver, CO, March 06, 2012
The Denver business community recently made a big welcome for a small VIP. From airline pilots to hospital nurses, all took time to meet, greet and celebrate Kieran Wittstruck, the 2012 national March of Dimes Ambassador.
Kieran, six, is travelling the country this year to raise awareness of the March of Dimes mission (healthy moms and babies) and ways people can help the cause. Kieran’s visit to Denver in late February (accompanied by his parents, Shalini and Shane) marked the first time in recent memory a national ambassador had come to the city.
While in town, Kieran and his parents visited the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, the Boulder Journey School, the United Airlines operations center at Denver International Airport, and called on March of Dimes supporters Cigna, the Mind Body Sole division of Famous Footwear, Kmart and Loaf ‘N Jug. They also attended several kickoff events marking the beginning of the March for Babies campaign. (March for Babies is a walking event and the largest annual March of Dimes fundraiser. It will take place in Denver, Boulder and five other Colorado communities on Saturday, April 28, 2012.)
Kieran’s visit was also a homecoming. The Wittstrucks live in the Seattle area now, but Kieran was born at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colo., in March 2006. He arrived prematurely (by ten weeks) and weighed just three pounds, one ounce. He spent the first month of his life in the Sky Ridge neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), battling a number of serious health issues common to babies who are born too soon. With the care of his parents and Sky Ridge health professionals – plus medical advances (like specialized NICU care and treatments) funded by the March of Dimes – Kieran pulled through. Today, Kieran is an active and healthy six-year-old who likes to ride his bike, swim and invent things. He also runs his own cat spy agency, called MEOWS. During his recent visit, the NICU staff feted Kieran with a milk-and-cookies reception.
The March of Dimes National Ambassador is the modern-day equivalent of the polio-era poster child. The program is now in its 66th year. Children and their families from across the country apply for the one-year position, and only one is chosen. Kieran was announced as the 2012 ambassador in January. Before coming to Denver, he visited the White House, where he met in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama.
The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping moms have healthy pregnancies so their babies can begin healthy lives. The organization’s mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. In Colorado and nationwide, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy. More may be learned at marchofdimes.com/colorado.