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March of Dimes - Rhode Island Chapter

220 West Exchange St. #003

Providence, RI  02903

(401) 454-1911

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    Southbury Family Named March of Dimes Greater Waterbury Ambassadors

    Leigh-Anne Lefurge, March of Dimes, (860) 815-9353, llefurge@marchofdimes.org

    Pentino family to speak at March for Babies in Middlebury on Sunday, May 4

    Southbury, CT, March 26, 2014 —

    On Sunday, May 4, hundreds from the Greater Waterbury area will gather for March for Babies at Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury to benefit the March of Dimes.  Leading the festivities will be the event’s 2014 Ambassadors, Fran and Heather Pentino of Southbury, along with their children Payton and Colton. They will share the story of Payton’s premature birth, and thank walkers for their commitment to the March of Dimes mission to give all babies a healthy start. 

    Heather was due with Payton on September 29, 2008, but due to unexpected preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and the discovery that Payton was experiencing low growth rate, she was delivered on August 12, six weeks early, weighing 3 pounds 13 ounces.  Like many babies born early, her underdeveloped lungs were one of her biggest health complications.  To help mature her tiny lungs quickly, she received surfactant, a therapy developed with help from March of Dimes grantees. 

    Payton also suffered from other health concerns such as a grade 1 brain bleed, bradycardia (low heart rate), desaturation (a decrease in the percentage of oxygen found in the circulating blood supply), and required breathing and feeding tubes. She ultimately spent 30 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury before coming home.

    “Due to my treatment during labor, I was unable to see Payton until more than 24 hours after she was born,” said Heather.  “Seeing your child in the NICU with tubes and wires is very frightening to a first time mom, or any mom. This was my child and I was overwhelmed with emotions over what was happening.”

    Today Payton is a healthy 5 year old who loves gymnastics, dancing, and baking.  “She enjoys helping her dad coach the Pomperaug boys swim team when they have practice on Saturday mornings,” said Heather.

    Their family was affected twice more by prematurity.  In 2009, they lost their son Gabriel at just 20 weeks gestation, and in 2012, pregnant with their third child, Heather was closely monitored as a high-risk pregnancy, had 17P progesterone shots for 19 weeks and was placed on modified bed rest at 20 weeks.  Even with all of the precautions and monitoring,  Colton was born four weeks early, but was healthy and able to come home right away.

    “As a young couple, you dream about having children, but never really understand the complications that may arise.  When we discovered that Payton was growing smaller than expected and that I was in preterm labor, we had never even thought of those complications,” said Heather.  “As a fit and active woman, I never thought I would have any complications.  We hope to educate parents on the importance of a full term labor and the positive outcome of carrying a child to term.”

    Participants can meet the family and hear their story at March for Babies at Quassy Amusement Park on Sunday, May 4.  Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. with the walk kicking off at 11:00 a.m.  To register visit marchforbabies.org/event/greaterwaterbury.

    Greater Waterbury March for Babies is sponsored locally by Quassy Amusement Park, Lamar Outdoor, 102.9 DRC-FM, kidtivity.com, 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.

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