March of Dimes Names Middlesex County Ambassador
Leigh-Anne Lefurge, March of Dimes, (860) 815-9353, firstname.lastname@example.org
Williams family to speak at March for Babies in Middletown on Saturday, May 3Middletown, CT, February 19, 2014
On Saturday, May 3, hundreds from Middlesex County will gather for March for Babies at Union Park to benefit the March of Dimes. Leading the festivities will be the event’s 2014 Ambassadors, Marvin and Emily Williams of Middletown, along with their two-year old son Deven (born prematurely) and his big sister, Amaya. They will share Deven’s prematurity journey, and thank walkers for their commitment to the March of Dimes mission to give all babies a healthy start.
Having experienced a healthy first pregnancy with their daughter, Marvin and Emily were devastated when at 18 weeks pregnant with Deven, he was diagnosed with a rare congenital birth defect (a cystic tumor) that was affecting both his heart and lungs. Emily herself was experiencing pregnancy complications, and at 32 weeks needed emergency surgery which meant Deven was delivered eight weeks early. He weighed just 4 pounds 5 ounces.
To help mature his underdeveloped lungs, he received surfactant, a therapy developed with help from March of Dimes grantees. Deven spent 31 days in the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Hartford Hospital and spent another six days in the NICU after surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“We were very unprepared to have a preemie, and deal with the NICU experience. We had a 19 month old daughter at home, and it was difficult to be away from her, and balance both situations,” said Emily. “Once we got through the initial fear of watching Deven struggle to breathe, and as he began to get stronger, we were able to relax and begin to bond with him. The hardest parts were not being able to hold him for several days after he was born and leaving the hospital without our newborn.”
Today, says Emily, Deven is running, jumping and talking, but it’s been a long road to get there. He started Birth to Three at five months old and at a year old, was not rolling, crawling, walking or talking. “We have seen multiple specialists for various medical concerns over the last two years and he continues to struggle with pulmonary issues. He is our little fighter!"
March for Babies participants can meet the Williams family and hear their story at Union Park on Saturday, May 3. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. with the walk kicking off at 10:00 a.m. To register visit marchforbabies.org/event/middlesexcounty or marchofdimes.org/ct.
“This will be our third year participating in March for Babies, and it has been an amazing experience. It has helped our family heal, celebrate, and share our passion for healthy babies. It has been our family’s way of giving back and we hope that everyone can have a positive experience like we did" said Emily.
Middlesex County March for Babies is sponsored locally by Shapiro Law Offices, Middlesex Hospital, State Wide Insurance, LLC, 102.9 DRC-FM and is supported by statewide sponsors, NBC Connecticut and Comcast. March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Macy’s, Famous Footwear, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Mission Pharmacal, and United Airlines.
For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.