Who are YOU Walking For? The Story of Team Will
Statesville, North Carolina, February 11, 2013
Many people in the Statesville area are familiar with Team Will. What most don’t know is that the team was actually started while little Will Johnson and his twin brother, Sam, were still in the NICU fighting for their lives.
In 2006, Mitch and Anna Johnson welcomed their first son, Will, into the world at just 23 weeks gestation. He weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces at the time of birth. His twin brother, Sam was born 3 days later and weighed 1 pound, 2 ounces. Unfortunately, Sam lived only 2 days. “If we hadn’t had immediate access to the high-level NICU in Winston-Salem, Will wouldn’t be alive today,” stated Anna Johnson, Will and Sam’s Mother. “March of Dimes gave Will a chance at life.” She went on to say, “While in the NICU, I Will received surfactant treatments for his lungs…March of Dimes was with us every step of the way. With my second pregnancy I got progesterone shots to reduce the chances of premature birth. Even though my second child wasn’t a preemie, March of Dimes was still there.”
As a gesture of support, Mitch and Anna’s family started Team Will.
After a long stint in the NICU, Will’s parents were able to take him home for the first time.
Today, Will is a happy and thriving 6 ½ year old little boy. “When we were in the NICU, we never could have imagined life could be this good,” stated Anna. Will still receives vision therapy but for is a healthy, happy child. He enjoys playing soccer and piano and doing gymnastics and is excelling in school.
Anna encourages family members of premature babies to sign up for a family team in the annual March for Babies Walks. “Family teams are a great way to show support to families who have a baby in the NICU,” she stated.
Since their first walk nearly 6 ½ years ago, Team Will has consistently ranked as one of the top teams in the state for March for Babies walks.
“We want to send a special thank you to our Team Will team members,” stated Anna. “They provide us with such love and support.”
For Team Will, they walk to remember Sam, to commemorate Will’s journey and to fight for babies across the country. Who are you walking for?
Pictured: Will right after birth.
Pictured: Will, who is now 6 1/2 seen here with his little sister, Emma, 5.
Pictured: Team Will before the 2012 March for Babies Walk.